The vast majority of the care, advice and treatment provided by General Practitioners is very good, but occasionally the standard of care provided falls below what should be considered an acceptable standard. When this happens there can be serious implications for the patients concerned.
General Practitioners are the first point of medical contact for the vast majority of people on the vast majority of occasions. They are not specialists and the law does not expect them to provide a level of expertise that specialists such as Orthopaedic consultants, Obstetricians, Neurologists etc would be expected to provide. Nevertheless General Practitioners owe their patients a duty of care and if that duty is breached and injury results, then a medical negligence claim is likely to follow.
At Burroughs Day our medical negligence team is highly experienced in dealing with various types of cases involving GP negligence (such as those referred to below) and will ensure that all claims we take on are properly and expeditiously investigated.
GP negligence tends to fall within three main areas: (1) Failure to diagnose; (2) Failure to refer and (3) Prescribing the wrong medication. This page contains links to a more detailed description of each of these areas but, broadly speaking, they refer to the following:
1. Failure to diagnose - whether it is symptoms associated with acute appendicitis, cauda equina syndrome, acute kidney failure or some other condition, just because a General Practitioner is not a specialist does not mean that they ought not be able to recognise the symptoms being presented to them by their patients and act accordingly. A failure to, for example, recognise that a patient with recent onset of central abdominal pain who presents with a raised temperature and a recent history of vomiting could be suffering from appendicitis may well prove to be negligent.
2. Failure to refer – if the symptoms being presented to the General Practitioner indicate that there may be a serious medical issue but he/she is unable to make a diagnosis then the patient should be referred to hospital for further investigations and/or treatment. This is not to say that, initially at least, it is not sometimes acceptable for the General Practitioner to keep a watchful eye on how the patient’s symptoms develop, provided of course that the patient is followed up appropriately.
3. Prescribing the wrong medication – for example, prescribing Penicillin to a patient with a known history of being allergic to Penicillin.
Our Medical Negligence team at Burroughs Day is experienced in handling claims for clients who have received poor treatment and/or advice from their GP. So, if you or someone you know has suffered in this way then contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation.