When we head to the doctors during an illness or a concern over our health. We automatically put complete faith and trust in the individual before that they will successfully be able to tell us what is wrong with us. That, after all, is their job.
However, what is worrying is that this does not seem to always be the case. Shocking amounts of medical negligence claims are increasingly being put forward against our GPs, mainly for wrong or missed diagnoses. Unfortunately, GPs cannot afford to get this wrong, as a small mistake could potentially jeopardize someone’s life, or drastically alter his or her health.
As with anything in this world, there are always inconsistencies. From teaching, parenting, training and business, there are differences in standards that affect performance and treatment. At the moment, there are no ways of factually telling where the best GP practice is in ones area of living. The government has recognized this however, and are in the process of implementing a plan to deploy a website to display GP performance data. This will enable the public to make informed decisions on where they want attend as a patient. As well as exposing poor practice, this idea aims to allow GPs to improve care where it is clearly needed.
The Medical Defense Union, who are the biggest insurer for medical professionals in the country, has recently released statistics in light of the government’s plans to publish GP performance data. Between 2009 and 2010, medical negligence claims against GPs rose a drastic 20%, 60% of which were wrong diagnoses. 15% were for delayed test referrals and 10% for medication mistakes.
45% of all medical complaints are against GPs in the UK, and yet surprisingly they only make up 25% of all doctors within the country. And these medical claims don’t come cheap – 13 of the claims cost over 1m in 2010, with some reaching as high as 6m, the highest claim amount ever to have been paid out.
So the concept of exposing GPs’ poor practice may seem somewhat harsh, yet when you consider these doctors can potentially have our lives in their hands, it will hopefully ensure they adopt best practice at all times. We are all just human though, and sadly, mistakes will inevitably happen, even from the very best.
Find out more about the process for making medical negligence claims.