Although the Consultation Paper acknowledges that a statutory duty of candour is not meant to encourage the practice of defensive medicine or lead to an increase in litigation both are a significant risk of these proposed reforms. If this legislation is ambiguous in stating that an apology is not an admission of guilt it could have significant negative impacts on the medical profession through increases in the cost of insurance premiums and changes in practice behaviour and scope whereby doctors are less willing to treat certain types of patients.

There must be absolute clarity in any legislation that an apology from an individual for an adverse outcome does not indicate any fault in medico-legal terms. Without this any legislation of this type will not be acceptable to surgeons, or other registered doctors.

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