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MEDICAL MALPRACTICE AND PROFESSIONAL INDEMNITY INSURANCE

As dietitians, our goals are to help patients meet their nutritional requirements and leave them satisfied with our expertise, but as we expand our services we can open ourselves to increased opportunities for misunderstandings and legal liabilities.

Taking up professional indemnity and medical malpractice cover ensures your protection in case of a actual or alleged claim made against you by a patient or third party.

Indemnity cover means an insurer will indemnify you for the cover as stipulated in the policy against legal liability to pay damages, including claimant’s costs, fees and expenses and subject to the applicable amount of cover selected or available, arising out of the professional services of the insured.

What is covered? 

  • Breach of duty (actual or alleged), errors and omission
  • Misstatement, or misleading statement
  • Performance of or failure to perform
  • HPCSA and other statutory body defence cost
  • Public and Products liability (qualified dieticians only)

Types of claims

  • Failure to diagnose
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Dispensing errors
  • Failure to refer to a specialist

Dietitians are more at risk of being sued than ever before. Why?

  • The public is more aware now of their rights due to quick access of information granted by technology.
  • Legal companies fuel and push patients to claim for any negligence or dissatisfaction.
  • The HPCSA also encourages patients to react if unhappy.
  • We as health practitioners are more open to patient litigation with social media. If we blog, tweet, facebook or intagram information, anything we say that is deemed inappropriate or advice is given that may harm a patient can be held against us.
  • Eg. A sport scientist’s comment about breastfeeding found him in court for months.

Can any dietitian benefit from this insurance?

Yes. Dietitians should have this benefit regardless if they are self-employed or work for corporate.

While professional indemnity is not compulsory in SA, it is important that you have this cover. In Britain professional indemnity is compulsory and you will be breaking the law if you practice without cover.

If you are employed by a company or the government and they bring a case against you for breaching your contract with them through negligence or practicing outside your scope of practice or job description, your employer can sue you for damages in the same way you can sue them.

What does Intersure know about dietetics?

They have been insuring dietitians for years. The cover via SASPEN is offered at reduced rates compared to standard insurers. You have a be a Saspen member to benefit from this reduction.

How does the payment terms work?

Dietitians can pay their installments monthly.

What are the costs? (per month)

Students and Intern Members

  • R 120 for a R2 500 000 Limit of Indemnity
  • R 150 for a R5 000 000 Limit of Indemnity

Fully Qualified dieticians 

  • R190 for a R 2, 500 000 Limit of Indemnity
  • R250 for a R 5, 000,000 Limit of Indemnity
  • R310 for a R10, 000, 000 Limit of Indemnity

Conclusion:

We must be prepared for the future. If there is,

  • Sickness – you need medical insurance
  • Hurricane/flood – home insurance
  • Death – life cover
  • Practice litigation – professional indemnity and medical malpractice.

You shouldn’t practice without it any capacity. Saspen has negotiated reduced rates to help you afford this vital cover.

Where do I get the application form?

Please click here to download the application form.