Law for Orthopaedic Surgeons - Avoiding Jeopardy

This is a course structured by pre-recorded lectures available 6 weeks before the delivery day of case-based discussions and Q&A, which provides broad coverage of the interface between law and the practice of orthopaedic surgery. It is specifically designed to highlight potential pitfalls in practice from the medico-legal perspective and to help steer surgeons away from potential jeopardy.

The course is aimed at consultants, SAS doctors and orthopaedic trainees who wish to gain knowledge of the elements of law which underpin various aspects of contemporary surgical practice. It includes:

  • practical advice on how to approach giving evidence in legal proceedings such as coroner's court
  • advice on practical measures to avoid jeopardy with employers, the courts and the regulator
  • a full delivery day of case-based discussion talks with Q&A including a mock coroner's inquest
  • pre-recorded material to be watched in advance, which will be available 6 weeks prior to the course delivery day

Faculty is comprised of experienced consultants in surgical specialties, all with extensive knowledge of law relating to surgery, practising barristers, coroners / assistant coroners and a representative from the Medical Protection Society. Please see below for further details of faculty members.

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Course Structure

The following are the topics covered on the course. Pre-recorded material on each topic will be available to participants 6 weeks in advance of the delivery day of live virtual talks. 

The course covers topics of surgical relevance including consent, gross negligence manslaughter, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service and the GMC, blood transfusion refusal, introduction to coronial law and coroner’s court, confidentiality and data protection, clinical negligence, and the pitfalls of social media.

Further Information on Course Topics

The topics for the 2022 Law for Orthopaedic Surgeons - Avoiding Jeopardy course are:

Consent: The legal background to consent and how surgeons can ensure they comply with it (Simon Gregg-Smith)

By the end of this session participants will:

  • Understand the evolution of the law in relation to consent.
  • Understand the importance of the Montgomery ruling.
  • Be aware of the standards expected by the GMC.
  • Develop methods for ensuring that consent is obtained and clearly documented to an appropriate standard.

Gross Negligence Manslaughter: An exploration of how the criminal law impacts on clinical practice (Leslie Hamilton)

By the end of this session participants will:

  • be aware of the potential criminal charges which might be brought against the hospital and a doctor
  • know the definition of gross negligence manslaughter
  • understand the role of the Coroner, the Police and the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service)
  • be aware of the outcome of recent cases.

Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service and the GMC: The regulatory role of the MPTS and the GMC (Heidi Mounsey)

By the end of this session participants will understand:

  • The role of the MPTS in the regulation of doctors' practice
  • How the MPTS is linked to the GMC
  • What functions are delegated to the MPTS from the GMC
  • The burden of proof in MPTS proceedings

Patients who refuse blood transfusion on religious grounds:  Current medico-legal considerations in the orthopaedic management of Jehovah's Witnesses (Simon Britten)

 By the end of this session participants will be sufficiently informed to:

  • To develop an understanding of why transfusions are refused by Jehovah's Witnesses
  • To consider the tensions in law between the clinician's duty to preserve life and duty to respect the patient's right to autonomy
  • To familiarise the participant with the Advance Decision Document
  • To understand which blood components are refused, and which are up to the  individual choice of the Witness
  • To understand how to proceed in cases of minors who may consider declining blood
  • The role of the Hospital Liaison Committee of Jehovah's Witnesses

Introduction to coronial law and coroner’s court: This session will give participants an understanding of the coronial system and how this interacts with medicine. (Leila Benyounes)

The aim of the session is to reduce the mystique behind the coronial system and provide confidence when dealing with coroners and attending the inquest.

By the end of this session participants will understand:

  • When the coroner needs to be involved in your medical practice
  • The steps taken between reporting a matter to a coroner and an inquest being held
  • What happens at an inquest
  • Common issues that arise with medics at inquests

Confidentiality and Data Protection: The importance of confidentiality in medical care and its ethical and legal basis. (Simon Britten)

By the end of this session participants will understand:

  • The ethical and legal basis of confidentiality
  • Regulation of confidentiality and the Information Commissioner's Office
  • Case law - X v Y and W v Egdell
  • The Data Protection Act and GDPR
  • Caldicott Principles

Clinical negligence: This session looks at the criteria to be fulfilled in order to prove clinical negligence with examples of case law. (Shyam Kumar)

By the end of this session participants will understand:

  • Criteria to be fulfilled to prove a case of medical negligence (Duty of care, Breach of Duty, Breach of duty leading to harm).
  • Exceptions in practice where 100% results are expected.
  • When does the doctor patient relationship (duty of care) come into being?
  • Are doctors the only staff sued for negligence?
  • Expert opinion has to withstand logical scrutiny (Bolitho v City and Hackney Health Authority (1997)
  • Inexperience -law requires that the trainee or the learner to be judged by the same standard as his more experienced colleagues-Wilsher vs Essex (1988)
  • Loss of chance case – inability to achieve full recovery.

Safe social media for doctors (Heidi Mounsey)

By the end of this session participants will understand:

  • The risks of engaging with social media as a doctor
  • GMC guidance
  • The online disinhibition effect
  • Case studies

Course Date & Location

Tuesday 7th November 2023
British Orthopaedic Association, 38-43 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3PE

Course Fees: 

The course fee is £200 for BOA members (£300 for non-members). 

Fees are payable at the time of registration. Your place is only treated as confirmed once payment is received.

Booking terms:

By booking onto this course you consent to:

  • The BOA Privacy Policy found here
  • The use of your work/personal email and Zoom for all communication and learning material needs.

Please note, sharing any of your own, or others, personal details in any of the above software/programmes is not permitted

Terms and Conditions: By booking onto this course you are confirming that you have read and agreed to the terms and conditions of the BOA Law for Orthopaedic Surgeons - Avoiding Jeopardy course.

Our policy team are happy to help you with any queries you may have regarding the course. You can contact us by email at [email protected] or by telephone on 02074056507.