I'm thinking about building an online platform that helps people get second medical opinions from doctors in the UK. Is there a possibility that the doctors on the platform could get sued for medical malpractice? I don't mind putting a huge disclaimer that limits the liability if it works.

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    Are you paying the doctors or just referring patients to doctors for a fee?
    – Ron Beyer
    Jun 28, 2019 at 20:59
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    Suing is one issue you have, but much more likely are complaints to the GMC about your doctors conduct - they can get struck off by the GMC. Have you spoken to the GMC, BMA and the MDU and MPRS about your scheme?
    – user4210
    Jun 28, 2019 at 22:55
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    @mihail1501 online GP practices are already a thing in the UK, and your idea just sounds like a variant on the basic concept. The problem I'm describing however is more to do with the doctor-hostile situation that exists in the UK right now - it's very easy to go from a minor trivial complaint to the doctor have to spend thousands in legal fees defending themselves at GMC hearings. Make sure you have a medical defence union or service onboard before you start the service - liability insurance is not enough, you need the defence as well.
    – user4210
    Jun 30, 2019 at 10:32

1 Answer 1


Yes. Anyone with the filing fee and a laptop and a printer can bring a lawsuit. And, if a medical doctor provides advice that falls below the standard of care for a physician and causes harm, it is not just possible, but likely, that a medical malpractice lawsuit would be brought. Putting something on the Internet doesn't relieve someone of liability that they would have if they did the same thing in person, as a general rule.

It is possible that a disclaimer could reduce or eliminate liability in some cases, but that isn't true in all cases. There are some kinds of liability that cannot be disclaimed or waived. The most obvious exception, which shouldn't be a great concern, is that liability for intentional acts can't be waived. But, that isn't the only limitation.

From a practical perspective, the sensible thing to do would be to take whatever steps a doctor providing a second opinion would provide in an in person consult and include them in an online format.

It might be possible to entirely or significantly disclaim medical malpractice liability for the matchmaking aspect of the app itself, and limit liability for medical malpractice solely to the physician providing the advice and not to the app as a deemed employer of the physician, however.


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