To investigate whether medical tribunal reports were meeting acceptable standards as set out in the practice direction issued by the Tribunal Service in 2010. We looked at 50 medical reports and compared the content of the reports with a 13-item checklist that was derived from the recommendations set out in the practice direction.
The results show a number of areas where the reports are not meeting acceptable standards. For 5 of 13 items in our checklist, less than 80% of reports evaluated included the required information.
The results have important clinical governance implications. As clinicians we need to improve our report writing, not least because it is our professional and statutory duty but also to avoid potential repercussions from the tribunal in terms of their legal power to order remedies, sanctions and costs. Improvements might be achieved through robust performance management of individual clinicians and consideration being given to including this in revalidation procedures.
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