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David Simpson Partner Coles Miller

GP Negligence Could Increase Because Pressure Is Too High5th Feb 2016

by David Simpson on 5th Feb 2016

Contact David Simpson

GPs risk providing unsafe care because they are under too much pressure, warns the British Medical Association.

Doctors in a rush could fail to diagnose cancer in time. Or make dangerous mistakes prescribing medicines.medical negligence solicitor David Simpson of Coles Miller, Poole

BMA GP leader Dr Chaand Nagpaul has warned ministers: “It is unsustainable and getting to the point where it is not safe.”

His warning is based on a survey of one-in-three surgeries in England and Wales – so it reflects a significant proportion of GPs.

All this makes worrying reading for medical negligence solicitors. We know that GPs account for a large number of cases we handle.

Like A&E, GPs are in the frontline – and yet they get only 10 minutes to assess each patient.

As pressure rises, they could fail to diagnose time-critical conditions such as cancer, meningitis and cauda equina.

In 2014 there was only one GP for every 1,650 patients in England and the problem is getting worse.

A third of GPs are planning to retire in the next five years but will they be replaced? Ten per cent of GP trainee places went unfilled last year.

The reality is that GP numbers have risen by only 1.5 per cent over the last five years.

Ministers have promised to increase funding by five per cent annually. But for some patients that could be too little too late.

We warned about GPs shortages last month – and that numbers of compensation claims were likely to rise.

So what is the answer? Sadly this problem will not be fixed overnight.

You must work with your GP to help you both get the best out of the brief 10 minutes you have together.

Prevention is better than what may be turn out to be very dire consequences of medical negligence.

No-one wants to sue their GP but sometimes that is the only option in order to:

  • obtain appropriate monetary damages to fund private remedial treatment
  • find out exactly what went wrong
  • seek an apology and hopefully prevent a similar thing happening to other patients.

Coles Miller is recommended in the Legal 500 guide for its expertise in handling medical negligence compensation claims.

Need help? Get expert advice from the head of Coles Miller’s Clinical Negligence Department, Partner David Simpson, 01202 355695.

This document is not intended to constitute and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice on any specific matter. No liability for the accuracy of the content of this document, or the consequences of relying on it, is assumed by the author. If you seek further information, please contact Managing Partner Neil Andrews at Coles Miller Solicitors LLP.