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12 August 2015

Increase in GP Negligence blamed on ‘overworked’ doctors

Increasing GP workloads in the UK is having a detrimental effect on patient safety according to the Royal College of GPs (RCGP).

In the past five years, the number of consultations has risen by almost 20%, far exceeding the growth in GPs, often meaning they work in excess of 11 hour days. The RCGP have suggested an additional 3,300 doctors are required to help alleviate issues such as increases in patient waiting times and mistreatment.

A report published by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman found that during October and November 2014, a total of 618 complaints were made about the poor service received from the NHS including GP Negligence, 41% of which were upheld. Ombudsman Commissioner Dame Julie Mellor said the report “shows the impact that service failure can have.” One GP based in West Yorkshire was sent for more training after breaking NICE guidelines by incorrectly prescribing a patient who was suffering from neurological symptoms. Soon after, the patient became seriously ill and had to remain in hospital for four months.

Recent cases of GP negligence in the national press have highlighted the damaging repercussions that mistreatment in particular can have for both the patients and their families.

In March 2015, a Woman in Manchester was found dead at her home after her GP failed to visit her. The patient, who had a history of heart problems, asked for a visit after feeling “weak” and “lifeless”. She died the following morning after her doctor diagnosed an infection and only managed to prescribe a course of antibiotics over the telephone.

A few months later in June, a girl aged 7 died after her GP failed to diagnose appendicitis, mistaking it instead for a stomach bug. Initially she had been suffering from diarrhoea before visiting her GP. The girl's mother even suggested to the doctor that the cause of pain could have been her appendix to which she was told “no”. Two days later her appendix burst and as a result she died of peritonitis after being rushed to Basildon Hospital.

We helped a client recover £5,000 in damages against a GP practice for incorrect prescription of medication, resulting in unnecessary testing and psychological counselling. 

Longden, Walker & Renney are experienced in dealing with GP negligence cases. We do our utmost to achieve compensation for the clients we represent to cover any required corrective treatment, in addition to any financial loss you may have experienced.

Call our team of dedicated solicitors on 0191 5666 5000. You can also request a callback via our online enquiry form and we will contact you at a time that is convenient. Your initial advice session will be free and you will be under no obligation.