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Manager Practice

looks at some of the common pitfalls that emerged from this analysis. On page 6, I look at a

ARRAN is said to be a microcosm of Scotland – with mountains and beaches, castles and prehistoric stone circles, all on an island 10 miles by 20. It also shares the same challenges as other remote and rural areas in providing adequate healthcare in an isolated setting. On page 10, Jim Killgore pays a visit to Shiskine surgery – one of three main health centres making up the recently merged Arran Medical Group. Here he meets practice manager Ruth Betley and learns more about her unique role on the island. Dealing with requests for

patient reports is a daily routine for most practices. Recently MDDUS conducted a case analysis that identified the extent to which failures in the processing of patient reports can lead to complaints and even claims for negligence. On page 12, senior risk adviser Liz Price


common area of angst and confusion among practice managers – dealing with parental access to medical records of children and more particularly requests from fathers who do not live with their children. Are you considering the need

for CCTV on your practice premises? Liz Price offers some important advice and a few caveats on page 7. Employment law adviser Janice Sibbald looks at emerging changes in smoking policies with the rise of the e-cigarette (page 8). And on page 9 Allan Gaw asks is your practice research “ready and willing” to further knowledge in primary care? Our regular Call Log on

page 4 summarises advice requests regarding dental tunes, power of attorney, fitness for work and a large bottle of malt whisky, among other topics. And our case study on page 14 deals with a dispute over idle gossip in a small village leading to an alleged confidentiality breach.

 Scott Obrzud Editor

Be clear on dental

treatment costs A RECENT report from the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has highlighted the need for dental practices to be clear with patients on treatment costs. The report identified 27 cases over the last two years where

confusion about dental charging was an issue and found that the current system is confusing for both patients and dentists. Furthermore, it found that some practitioners fail to share treatment plans with their patients, despite an obligation to do so. MDDUS dental adviser Doug Hamilton suggests that, while

the vast majority of dental practices would never intentionally misinform a patient over treatment options and costs, there seems to be an increasing number of complaints arising from fee-related misunderstandings. “Many of these disputes can be avoided by the provision of a cost

estimate to patients prior to dental treatment being provided,” says Hamilton. “Practitioners have an ethical obligation to ensure patients have

clear information on charges, including the need to provide a revised estimate if at any point the proposed treatment plan requires to be amended. Failure to comply will not only undermine any attempts to rebut a patient’s complaint, but may also lead to investigation by the GDC.” Patient complaints can also arise where there is confusion over

whether the treatment is carried out privately or on the NHS. Says Hamilton:

“If all or part of this treatment is to be carried out privately, then this must be stipulated in the treatment plan and then be signed by the patient. Any recommendation of private care to NHS patients must be delivered upon sound ethical and clinical reasoning and not any financial consideration of the dentist.”

EDITOR: Scott Obrzud

ASSOCIATE EDITORS: Jim Killgore Joanne Curran


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CORRESPONDENCE: PM Editor MDDUS Mackintosh House 120 Blythswood Street Glasgow G2 4EA

t: 0845 270 2034 e: w:

Practice Manager is published by The Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland, Registered in Scotland No 5093 at Mackintosh House, 120 Blythswood Street, Glasgow G2 4EA. The MDDUS is not an insurance company. All the benefits of membership of MDDUS are discretionary as set out in the Memorandum and Articles of Association.

Practice and corporate

scheme membership MEMBERS who have Practice or Corporate Scheme Membership with MDDUS should note that it is their responsibility to ensure that membership is being adequately maintained. This is generally done by the staff member responsible within the

practice for the administration of the scheme, such as the practice manager. Failure to maintain adequate cover, for example failing to inform us of a return to work following maternity or paternity leave, cannot normally be rectified retrospectively. Contact our Membership Team on 0845 270 2038 or via email at if you have questions or if you want to check the current status of your membership scheme.

SUMMER 2015  ISSUE 12

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