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British Doctors May Refuse to Treat US Patients


Americans and Canadians living or working in the UK could struggle to find a doctor willing to offer any medical assistance, according to a report at The UK General Medical Council(GMC) has said it will not take action against doctors who refuse to treat US or Canadian nationals living in the UK.

What has prompted this action is the fear that they could be sued in a US court if things go wrong, and, because UK medical insurance companies do not provide indemnity cover for action brought in a North American court - even if it is related to treatment that took place in the UK – they could be personally liable for any damages.

In a recent case, a holder of Anglo-American dual nationality registered a complaint after he had to withdraw from two charity trips, because the accompanying GP(General Practitioner) said he was not able to treat him because of the lack of adequate insurance cover.

The General Medical Council decided that its remit ‘does not cover law enforcement’ - in effect they have no jurisdiction in such a matter - and no action would be taken against the GP.

The GMC guidance states that doctors ‘must take out adequate insurance or professional indemnity cover for any part of their practice not covered by an employer’s indemnity scheme.’
There is no information provided by the GMC on where GPs might obtain the relevant specialist insurance cover for these situations.


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