Contrary to what doctors’ gut feelings may say, the number of disciplinary cases against doctors is not increasing. The number of doctors who have had to answer to a disciplinary tribunal has decreased significantly every year since 2017.
This is apparent from a comparison of the annual reports of the disciplinary tribunals of the past ten years by Medisch Contact. The number of complaints about doctors handled by the regional disciplinary tribunals has more than halved since 2017, from 1344 to 579 in 2022. The number of appeals to the Central Disciplinary Court about doctors has halved since 2018 from 443 to 221.
Not only has the number of disciplinary cases about doctors fallen, the number of disciplinary cases about BIG-registered care providers in general has also fallen considerably since 2017. decreased sharply: from 1780 to 979 in 2022.
According to the disciplinary tribunals for health care, it is a guess as to the cause of the downward trend. ‘It could be that since April 2019 people can turn to disciplinary complaints officers with questions and complaints, who work independently of the disciplinary tribunals,’ explains a spokesman for the disciplinary tribunals. ‘They advise on whether disciplinary law is the right route for the complaint, but they also help with formulating the complaint, for example. The number of questions and reports received by them has increased. But it is unknown whether or not this ultimately leads to a disciplinary complaint. What could also have an influence is that since April 2019, complainants have to pay 50 euros in court fees. And that more complaints are being received by the Wkkgz dispute resolution bodies. But it’s hard to say, because we don’t have any hard data about it.’
It is striking that, both in absolute and relative terms, many more complaints about doctors are received by the disciplinary tribunals each year than about other BIG-registered professionals. Only mental health psychologists and psychotherapists are – in a relative sense – an exception to this. ‘It is anyone’s guess why there are fewer complaints about other BIG-registered care providers. No investigation has been done,’ says the spokesperson for the Disciplinary Courts.
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