Sir, – In reference to the planned Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill, Muiris Houston (Home News, May 1st) correctly questions how an expert in obstetrics can offer an opinion on suicide risk when it will be outside of their accepted skills and expertise? Without specific ongoing education and training in the area it will be a personal rather than an expert opinion and will need to be recorded as such.
Competent hospital risk managers will be soon minded to advise their obstetricians to continue to practise only within their established competencies so as to avoid likely legitimate complaint (and litigation) by a patient or family of a patient. This is likely to mean that obstetricians will not, and should not, offer a psychiatric or non-expert opinion on suicide risk. The Medical Council is also likely to have an opinion on any doctor opining outside their area of expertise. The proposed legislation as structured is fundamentally flawed and will need to be changed. – Yours, etc,