Recent Posts by Rachel Birch

Reducing risk 
on busy days

When GPs are under time pressure, it may be easy to correct omissions such as missed referrals without stopping to consider how it happened and what can be done to prevent a similar incident in the future. Dr Rachel Birch, Medicolegal Consultant at Medical Protection, discusses this in more detail and provides practical advice on…
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Medicolegal risks for GP locums during Covid-19

Locum GPs may be asked to work in new ways in unfamiliar environments as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. Dr Rachel Birch, medicolegal consultant at Medical Protection, advises on medicolegal dilemmas they may face. It is no secret that General Practice would not survive without the expertise and availability of GP locums. In this…
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Giving effective feedback to a GP colleague

Locum GPs are in a challenging yet rewarding position, in that they frequently review patients that have been seen by other GPs. However, many locum GPs may be concerned, if they were to come across a clinical error, what would be the most appropriate way to provide feedback to those GPs? Dr Rachel Birch, Medicolegal…
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Have yourself a merry 
risk-free Christmas

With seasonal cheer building and the countdown to the holidays drawing near, it is important that sessional GPs are well-prepared for possible challenges during Christmas and New Year. Dr Rachel Birch, Medicolegal Consultant at Medical Protection, offers practical advice on how to make this year as safe and enjoyable as possible. “Let it snow! Let…
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Off duty dilemmas

As doctors, we may sometimes feel that we are never off duty. Even when we are not at work, those close to us may seek our advice on medical matters, or even request for emergency medical assistance. Dr Rachel Birch, Medicolegal Consultant at Medical Protection, addresses this issue in more detail, presenting two examples of…
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Locums as educators – every day is a learning day

Dr Rachel Birch, Medicolegal Consultant at Medical Protection, looks at the valuable contribution sessional GPs can make to teaching and learning within primary care. Doctors as teachers As doctors, we are encouraged to share our knowledge and expertise with others, for the benefit of good patient care. In fact, the word “doctor” is derived from…
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Being mindful of 
medical hierarchy

Medical hierarchy may present a challenge, and at times a possible reluctance, to open discussions about patients. Dr Rachel Birch, medicolegal consultant at Medical Protection, discusses possible reasons for this and provides helpful strategies to overcome this. Most doctors would agree that a medical hierarchy exists in the hospital setting, with junior doctors and specialist…
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Burnout and how 
to avoid it

Burnout among GPs can be an occupational hazard and is believed to be increasingly common. Dr Rachel Birch, medicolegal consultant at Medical Protection, discusses burnout and the steps that sessional GPs can take to avoid it. Case scenario Dr A is a locum GP undertaking 5-6 sessions per week in different practices. She has chosen…
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State-backed indemnity – 
what it means for sessional GPs

There's still some uncertainty about the new state-backed indemnity scheme for England and Wales, and Rachel Birch from the MPS has the answers. What is state-backed indemnity? The state-backed scheme will provide GPs with indemnity for clinical negligence claims, arising from work undertaken under NHS-contracted primary medical services. This will be a similar arrangement to…
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Is laughter the 
best medicine?

The use of humour is believed to have several positive psychological and physiological effects on health. Many doctors and patients believe it has a place in the consultation. Dr Rachel Birch, medicolegal adviser at Medical Protection, addresses this issue in more detail and presents a case where humour had unintended consequences. In recent years it…
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Fitness to fly

Dr Rachel Birch, Medical Protection medicolegal adviser, presents two case scenarios on requests for fitness to fly certificates, illustrating what locum GPs can do to support patients while minimising any potential risks. Case study – Fit to fly, we want some sunshine! Mr G, a 68 year old patient, came with his wife to see…
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Lost in translation

Medical Protection’s Dr Rachel Birch explores some of the risks involved in treating patients whose first language is not English. It is likely that we have all consulted with patients whose first language is not English. How often we do so will depend on the demographics of the practice population. There are potential risks, both…
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