Accidents don't happen any more: Junior doctors' experience of fatal accident inquiries in Scotland

J. McCulloch*, M. Sykes, F. Haut

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: To determine the experience of junior doctors cited as witnesses at fatal accident inquiries (FAIs). Design: Retrospective questionnaire study. Setting and subjects: 40 junior doctors who had been involved in FAIs from January 1998 to August 2002 were identified by the Medical Protection Society and Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland: 21 completed questionnaires were returned, a response rate of 52.5%. Results: The process and objectives of FAIs were poorly understood. Few participants were proactive in contacting their defence union. There was a perceived lack of both formal and informal supports with respondents describing a "blame culture" within the medical profession. The experience of the FAI was generally considered stressful with respondents describing possible improvements relating to support, information, training, and the FAI procedure. Conclusions: Junior medical staff are poorly informed in this medicolegal area. There is a need for the development of mechanisms both to support junior doctors and to ensure that adverse incidents are dealt with using modern risk management techniques to minimise the risk of recurrence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-187
Number of pages3
JournalPostgraduate Medical Journal
Issue number953
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes


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