Articles and Case Studies

Support in Practice Risk Management

11 Apr 2014


The risk of being sued, having a complaint made about you or being subject to disciplinary action is a worry for many doctors, and the experience of such a medico-legal matter is highly stressful for most doctors.

MDA National’s commitment to support and protect Members includes risk management – assisting Members to identify and respond to medico-legal risks in their practice to reduce the likelihood of complaints, legal claims or disciplinary action. This service to Members is provided by our Support in Practice (SiP) team using a two-level approach.

Level 1 – Early Intervention Program

This level is designed to “get in early” for Members with only one or few claims or complaints. Member participation at this level is strongly encouraged as research has suggested early intervention has considerable potential to reduce the likelihood of further risk issues occurring.2

Level 2 – Member Risk Management Program

This level is designed to address risks for those Members who have a more complex claims history. Members offered assistance in this category are provided with a targeted and focused risk management program. Participation at this level can, in some circumstances, be a condition of ongoing indemnity cover with MDA National Insurance.

Responding to a Member’s risk

The range of Member risk management and support varies and may be in the form of:

  • a phone discussion or meeting
  • provision of resources, materials or articles
  • recommendation to attend a workshop or educational activity provided by MDA National
  • a practice visit, including discussion with practice staff and review of practice systems
  • meetings, interviews or mentoring with a peer or colleague.

Ongoing support

Once assistance has been provided, the SiP team may maintain contact with the Member to assess progress, provide further assistance to reduce risks and, where relevant, to ensure compliance where risk management is a formal requirement.

The SiP team

MDA National’s risk advisers have extensive experience in healthcare risk management with a strong commitment to supporting Members. Their advice is based on:

  • claims data analysis
  • the experience of MDA National
  • legislation and standards
  • literature.

The SiP team is based in Sydney but travels nationally. The team can be contacted on
1800 011 225 or by email at


1. Nash L, Daly M, Johnson M et al. Psychological Morbidity in Australian Doctors who have and have not Experienced a Medico-legal Matter: Cross-Sectional Survey. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2007 Nov;41(11):917-25.
2. Pichert JW, Hickson GB, Moore IN. Using Patient Complaints to Promote Patient Safety. In: Henriksen K, Battles, JB, Keyes, MA, Grady MI (eds). Advances in Patient Safety: New Directions and Alternative Approaches.Rockville, MD: AHRQ, 2008.

Complaints and Adverse Events, Anaesthesia, Dermatology, Emergency Medicine, General Practice, Intensive Care Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Ophthalmology, Pathology, Psychiatry, Radiology, Sports Medicine, Surgery


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