Table 1

Studies reporting survey data relevant to primary care malpractice claims

Author (year)SettingData sourcePopulation studiedOutcomeFindings
MPS (2011)UKSurvey of GP members1 in 5 related to prescribing related adverse eventsTypes of prescribing errors

Frequently implicated medications
Failure to warn of or recognise side effects, right drug-wrongly prescribed, wrong drug prescribed, injection related, drug interaction or contraindicated
Commonest medication classes: steroids (oral and topical), antibiotics (previous known penicillin allergy or sulphonamides), phenothiazides, HRT, COCP, narcotics, lithium and anticoagulants (inadequate monitoring) and NSAIDs
MPS (2011)UKSurveyN=670, UK MPS membersPrevalence of malpractice claims27% of respondents were GPs of whom 12% had experienced a malpractice claim
American Medical Association (AMA) (2010)USSurvey. Random sampling of the AMA repository, nationally representative, 2007–2008N=5285 physicians total
N=100 GPs/Family practitioners
Prevalence of malpractice claims3.1% sued in the previous year
38.9% sued once in their career
22.2% Sued more than once in their career
Nash (2009)AustraliaSurvey of doctors who had been insured with UNITED Medical ProtectionN=582 GP cohort
33% response rate
Prevalence of malpractice claims
(Medico-legal matter defined as a claim for compensation or complaint)
Of GP cohort;
Currently involved in medicolegal matter—9%
Ever involved in medicolegal matter—58%
Claim for compensation related to malpractice—21%
AMA (1993)USSurveyPrevalence of malpractice claimsFor GPs, the rate was 5.7 per 100 in 1991
Zuckerman (1984)USSurvey of the AMA Socioeconomic Monitoring System (1978–1983)N=1240, All specialtiesPrevalence of malpractice claims per specialtyFor general/family practice, annual claims rate 8.7% (1978–1983), prior to 1978, 3.8%