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Longer GP Waiting Times Put Lives At Risk

Posted on Wednesday 25th June 2014 by David Simpson

Delays in seeing your GP are more than just an inconvenience. Delays can kill.David Simpson - Partner, Coles Miller

Or they could leave you crippled or unable to walk unaided. Or infertile/impotent. Or with severely reduced bladder/bowel function.

And all because cuts to GP funding meant you could not see your doctor in time for them to diagnose your serious medical condition.

BMA GP leader Dr Chaand Nagpaul has warned that “chronic underfunding” is putting patients at risk. Some are having to wait up to two weeks to see their local doctor.

As medical negligence solicitors, we echo Dr Nagpaul’s warning over longer GP waiting times. Britain’s GPs need proper resources as an immediate priority.

For many patients, GPs are the vital first point of contact. Many people worried about acute symptoms do not want to trouble overworked A&E staff so they see their local doctor instead.

That first visit is crucial – it can mean the difference between “don’t worry, it’s not serious” and “you need immediate hospital treatment.”

Around a third of the medical negligence cases that we investigate involve something going wrong at the GP stage: serious conditions that were missed or misdiagnosed.

There are a number of conditions where delays at the GP stage can have extremely serious consequences including:
•    Appendicitis – which can prove fatal if not diagnosed and treated in time.
•    Ectopic pregnancies – a common potentially life-threatening condition that affects one in 80 pregnancies in Britain
•    Cauda equina syndrome – compression of the nerves in the lower back. Unless diagnosed and treated quickly, it can cripple and cause permanent bladder and bowel problems and sexual dysfunction.

Whilst cauda equina syndrome is relatively rare, at Coles Miller we currently have five of these cases on our books and expect to be instructed in about two new cases every year.

Are you experiencing delays in seeing your GP? Is it impacting on any medical conditions you have? Is it affecting your work? Find out here how we can help.

Read here – Case 2, O v Dr N and Others – how Coles Miller clinical negligence Partner David Simpson helped a client to sue four GPs for compensation exceeding £680,000.

Contact David Simpson, 01202 673011, for expert advice on how to obtain the right compensation.

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As a company Coles Miller have been very supportive of which I am grateful to all those involved.