MDU appoints new head of claims handling

The Medical Defence Union (MDU), a membership body offering indemnity and medicolegal support to doctors and dental professionals, has appointed David Pranklin as its new head of claims handling.

Pranklin succeeds Jill Harding, who led the department for 17 years and recently retired.

Pranklin heads up a 36-strong multidisciplinary team of claims handling experts supporting the MDU’s 200,000 doctor, dentist and other healthcare worker members facing clinical negligence claims.

With a background in the insurance industry, Pranklin has worked for the MDU for 22 years, most recently as the technical claims manager with responsibility for leading on high value claims and complex cases as well as deputising for the role he now occupies.

The MDU has a good track record of defending claims on behalf of its members. In the last 12 months, more than 80% of medical and almost 70% of dental claims were defended successfully and closed without payment of damages.

Pranklin said: “I feel hugely privileged to take on this role and look forward to building on the firm foundations laid by Jill during her years of service. The team has achieved some excellent results in defending claims against members and I look forward to continuing this good work.”

“We know how stressful it can be for our members involved in a clinical negligence claim. For consultants in private practice, GPs and dental professionals, claims are usually made against the individual practitioner and can be very concerning for them. Our role is to relieve the burden for our members, acting in their best interests.”

“Claims against members are not usually indicators of poor or unsafe practice, but unfortunately they are often perceived that way. Because they are personal, claims against doctors and dentists are a very different prospect to claims against institutions. They need an individual approach and our claims team’s excellent results, sustained year on year, demonstrate that members are safe in our hands.”

The MDU recently called for healthcare professionals to be spared from the stress and anxiety of medical negligence claims during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The MDU argues that healthcare professionals must be accountable for their actions but the unprecedented circumstances in which care was provided must be remembered when investigating medical negligence claims arising from the pandemic.