The broker has warned of potential claims and rising premiums in the medical malpractice sector

Specialist insurance broker New Dawn Risk has warned of a potential post-Covid liability crisis in the medical malpractice sector in 2022, with litigation and claims around this line of business skyrocketing.

Medical malpractice insurance covers physicians for claims resulting from allegations of wrong site surgery, misdiagnosis, surgical errors, medication errors, childbirth-related injuries and other claims of wrongdoing.

The broker’s chief executive Max Carter sees trouble ahead for this class of insurance. He said: “As an insurance broker specialising in medical malpractice cover, I look ahead and see something different.

“I see a flood of claims coming towards us. The ability of consultants, physios, midwives, nurses and doctors to deliver consistent and excellent care has been challenged in so many ways.

“Though the intentions and effort have been heroic, the results have inevitably included delayed procedures and deaths from diseases that might not previously have been fatal.”

Rising premiums

Carter expects to see angry, grieving families litigate in 2022.

He continued: “While the health service struggles to catch up, failures not of its making will catch it up, leading to a crisis in claims, a rise in premiums and, quite possibly, some challenging restrictions in medical malpractice cover.

“In 2020 and 2021, health service professionals were national heroes. They remain heroic, but the results of their efforts may bring them real additional challenges in the year ahead.”

Carter highlighted that GP surgeries now treat 60% of their patients face-to-face and are working through new challenges around administering Covid vaccines, catching up on routine appointments and persuading fearful patients back into treatment.

He said: “Meanwhile, in hospitals, consultants are struggling with huge disruptions to their operating lists, from the last minute withdrawals of patients due to Covid, a shortage of back office staff to make and manage patient records and appointments and the continued physical barriers to treatment from operating through layers of [personal protection equipment].

“If there is one thing that parties on all sides can agree, it is that Covid has stretched and challenged every aspect of our healthcare systems.

”This is the case not just in the crowded emergency and Covid wards, but also in related fields, such as physiotherapy and rehabilitation, where the requirement for face-to-face interaction has been altered beyond belief by a year of remote treatment.”