The MDU's consultant liaison managers (CLMs) form part of our wider expert member-facing liaison team, whose activities go well beyond just that of supporting prospective members and visiting them at their workplace or at dedicated events to help them when joining the MDU.
Last year our liaison managers delivered over 1,600 risk management-related training seminars to MDU members and their staff at hospitals and their practices, raising awareness of indemnity matters and providing MDU guidance and training on how the associated risks can be mitigated.
CLMs are always available to meet consultant members to help with any questions or concerns they might have, whether it's to do with their MDU membership or other medico-legal issues relating to their practice.
Caron Kerr explains in more detail what the CLM team can offer and how best to take advantage of the services they provide.
What is the CLM team?
Caron Kerr: The CLM team consists of six full-time CLMs each with their individual territories across the UK.
As part of our personal service to consultant members who carry out private practice, we can arrange bespoke meetings to review their membership. Our main aim with these meetings is to make sure the doctor is correctly indemnified for the work they carry out, both across their NHS and private practice. When members tell us about changes in their work circumstances, we liaise with our underwriting and membership colleagues on members' behalf to ensure their membership is updated and they are kept informed.
What do they do?
CK: CLMs can help consultant members with updating their work circumstances, looking at any NHS choose-and-book work, waiting list initiative work, and any referral for treatment practice being carried out. An important part of the meeting will help with calculating their gross and net incomes while deducting allowable expenses of up to 50%. That's why our members value the opportunity to meet us face to face as part of their MDU membership.
The face-to-face aspect lets us explain in more detail all the many other benefits of MDU membership they might not be aware of, and how best to take advantage of what's on offer. This might involve taking them through the variety of our CPD courses, which are available online, in-house and at various venues in the UK, or arranging free-of-charge educational seminars, which can be provided at venues chosen by the consultant and/or their team. We can also arrange for our medico-legal advisers to deliver more bespoke seminars across the UK.
For those members who are setting up a limited company for their own private practice, we can also advise on, and discuss, other benefits offered by the MDU that can accommodate this.
These relationships are really appreciated by members, who will then often stay with the MDU for the duration of their careers.
Where and how does the team operate?
CK: Our CLMs are out and about across the country every day, booking one-to-one appointments in consultants' places of work, attending clinical audit meetings in both the private sector and NHS settings. We speak at grand rounds within the NHS environment, sponsor general hospital meetings and attend larger national events across the UK, many of which are often speciality specific – such as those organised by the British Orthopaedic Association, Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland, British Association of Urological Surgeons, and so on.
What does a 'typical' day involve?
CK: A common recurring theme as a CLM is leaving home very early and returning late, but it means I can fill the day visiting a couple of hospital sites and incorporating both consultant and hospital doctor responsibilities. This allows me to speak with more members, visiting the local postgraduate medical education departments and management within the private sector to talk about the services we offer.
How else can the CLM team help consultant members?
CK: As well as the benefits and services mentioned above, members particularly value the face-to-face support we provide. The team invest a lot of time and energy to nurture excellent working relationships with members which, and these relationships are really appreciated by members, who will then often stay with the MDU for the duration of their careers (see below).
How can members find out more or arrange a meeting?
CK: Liaison managers' contact details can be found on the MDU website. Alternatively, members can call or email us to be directed to their liaison manager.
Dr Sanjay Deshpande FRCA is venous thromboembolism (VTE) lead and consultant anaesthetist at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS FT, and an MDU member for over 20 years. He has this to say about the importance of his relationship with the CLM team.
'VTE is an international patient safety issue and its prevention has been recognised as a clinical priority for the NHS in England. South Tyneside NHS FT accomplished Exemplar VTE status, the award granted by Kings Hospital, London, and South Tyneside NHS FT merged with Sunderland NHS FT on 1st April 2019 – so our next aim is to achieve Exemplar status for the combined trust.
'We support neighbouring trusts in disseminating best practice on VTE prevention. We have discussed this after mentioning my relationship with Caron [Kerr] as our liaison manager, which has been over a 16 year period where we have both been able to benefit from some wonderful meetings, both in the NHS and private sector – with more to come, I'm sure.
'Truly, she has been very supportive – to myself in particular, with help setting up the many teaching sessions for all grades of hospital doctors, but primarily with consultants, over the years in the trust's anaesthetic department. She has provided excellent teaching sessions, educational packs and we also know we can rely on her to provide a follow-up visit. We can't thank her enough.'