Unexpected events that may cause patient harm may be investigated in a number of ways. Understanding how concerns are investigated can help you understand how you may be involved in medicolegal work.
Patients may make a complaint about the care they have received to the manager of the hospital/department in which they were treated. These complaints will be investigated by the organisation as part of their complaints management or untoward incident policies. You may be involved in these cases as the treating physiotherapist and need to provide your records.
In some circumstances, a coroner may be involved in cases where a patient has died. A coroner’s hearing may be required to investigate the cause of a person’s death. If you were the treating physiotherapist, you may be asked to provide your clinical records and may be asked to give a statement.
A patient may also contact a solicitor if they want to make a clinical negligence claim. If you are the treating physiotherapist you may be asked to provide your clinical records and may be asked to give a statement. If you are an expert witness, you may be approached to give an expert opinion on the case.
Rarely, the police may investigate complaints where there is an allegation that a crime has been committed and may contact you for assistance. If you believe the police are investigating criminal allegations against you, you should check if the CSP can support you or contact your separate Criminal Defence Insurer (CDI) insurance provider if you have one.
Patients may also complain to an employer if they are concerned about the fitness to practise of a worker. These complaints may be investigated as part of an employer’s disciplinary process. If you a registered physiotherapist, a patient may complain to the HCPC and the complaint may be investigated through the HCPC’s regulatory fitness to practise process. Contact your workplace steward, if you have one, for support with disciplinary processes.
In all cases, you should check our PLI Claims Guide to see if you need to make a PLI notification
If you are a registered physiotherapist and believe an HCPC complaint has been made against you, you should contact the employment relations and union services department at the CSP for support and representation.