Advertise Here
Icon

Directory

IconAssociations and Institutes
IconBBBEE Consulting and Verification Agencies
IconCompare Medical Scheme Benefits
IconConsumer Protection
IconCorporate Governance
IconCredit Bureaus
IconEmergency Medical Rescue
IconExpatriate Cover
IconHealthcare Consultants
IconMedical Aid Brokers
IconMedical Aid Schemes
IconMedical Malpractice Cover
IconMedical Schemes Trustees Liability Insurance
IconMedical Service Providers
IconOmbud
IconOnline Quotes
IconPublications
IconRegulatory Authorities
IconWellness Programs
Advertise Here
  Subscribe To »

PROFESSIONAL INDEMNITY DURING A PANDEMIC

Published

2020

Thu

06

Aug

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a unique set of circumstances for medical professionals, many of whom would do well to be seek clarity from their professional insurers as they are called on to step into unfamiliar terrain. Article: Natmed Medical Defence.



Medical malpractice insurance usually covers malpractice related to a medical practitioner’s scope of practice, which is defined in the policy of insurance. For example, doctors acting outside of their usual scope of practice are not generally covered, unless they are providing medical care in a situation of emergency.
 

The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has indicated that healthcare providers may now need to act outside of their scope of practice in order to assist with the pandemic, and the standard of how a reasonable healthcare professional should act will be judged in the light of the current unusual circumstances.

 

But whether the treatment of a COVID-19 patient can be defined as an emergency situation will depend on the particular circumstances of each case and the severity of the patient’s need for treatment (for example, whether they urgently require a ventilator or resuscitation).

Additionally, the wording of a healthcare provider’s malpractice policy should be checked to determine what the policy covers, especially in relation to the treatment of COVID-19 patients. In the case of uncertainty, we suggest that healthcare professionals consult with their insurers or insurance brokers to confirm whether cover is provided and what the scope of that cover is.

Doctors should also brush up on their notification obligations, to ensure that they know when and how to notify an insurer of any potential claim.


Heroes of the crisis

Over the past decade South Africa has seen the steady increase in medical malpractice
litigation, with claims of more than R1 million increasing by 550 percent compared to the previous decade; and claims of over R5-million increasing by as much as 900 percent over a five year period. Additionally, health departments face exorbitant medical malpractice claims. 

Although healthcare professionals are the heroes of the current COVID-19 crisis, they will be faced with extremely
tough situations and decisions as the pandemic worsens and the number of patients who contract COVID-19 increases. These situations and decisions may extend to:

 

• A range of surgical specialists being required to work in areas such as the ER or ICU;
• Retired healthcare workers being called on to provide support services to frontline workers, such as manning testing stations;
• Medical professionals with pending registration issues being permitted to continue practising; and
• Having to weigh up, as just one example, which patient (with reference to young, old, healthy, with comorbidities) gets a ventilator when these become limited.

While the HPCSA says it will consider “the extraordinary circumstances in which practitioners are working and the heavy demands placed on them during this period”, Parliament has not issued any form of COVID-19-related indemnity for South African healthcare professionals. What is expected is that standards of reasonableness in patient care in relation to the treatment of COVID-19 patients may differ from the standards usually applied to the provision of general healthcare services.
 

Courts may be sympathetic towards healthcare practitioners, and it is unlikely that doctors who are seeing hundreds more patients per day due to the pandemic then they normally would, will be held to the same standards to which doctors under normal circumstances must adhere.

However, it is still required that healthcare practitioners consider their ethical and legal duties, and what can reasonably be expected of them during these difficult times. If they have any uncertainty, it would be wise to notify their insurers – especially if a healthcare professional is being asked to provide care outside of their specialty or area of dedicated expertise, and to generally discuss the scope and nature of cover provided over this period.

 
Source: Textbox Conceptual
 
« Back to previous page Print this page » |
 

Breaking News »

Introducing our new eNews App

Insurance Gateway is thrilled to introduce our brand new electronic newspaper. The final product is available as both a mobile and desktop application. Our aim with the app was to develop an electronic newspaper ...
Read More »

  

Healthcare planning new year resolutions for 2021

2020 has been a brutal year, financially and emotionally. The pandemic and its subsequent aftershocks on household income and spending have been severe. Going into the new year, many families are reviewing household ...
Read More »

  

Healthcare Funding and Resources – SA’s ‘other’ pandemic

Wednesday, 9 December 2020 - The global COVID-19 pandemic has plunged the medical community into a furious race to develop a vaccine – at an exponentially faster rate than any other illnesses. By early June ...
Read More »

  

NORTON ROSE FULBRIGHT SCOOPS AWARD FOR INNOVATIVE INSURANCE COMIC BOOK

At a virtual awards ceremony on Friday November 13, 2020, Norton Rose Fulbright in South Africa was recognized by the Institute of Risk Management South Africa (IRMSA) for leaping out of the proverbial box with ...
Read More »

 

More News »

Image

Investment »

Image

Life »

Image

Retirement »

Image

Short-term »

Advertise Here
Advertise Here

From The Glossary »

Icon

Statement:

An account statement received after each transaction.
More Definitions »

 

Advertise

 

eZine

 

Contact IG

 

Media Pack

 

RSS Feeds

By using this website you agree to the Terms of Use.
Copyright © Insurance Gateway (Pty) Ltd 2004 - 2021. All Rights Reserved.