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GP Negligence Claims

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The GP surgery is usually the first stop on a treatment pathway for any injury. At the GP surgery you could be seen by General Practitioners, Advanced Nurse Practitioners, Nurses and other healthcare professionals. It is their job to take a history, assess symptoms and either provide treatment or refer on to the correct clinicians for further investigation and treatment should it be necessary.

There are a range of guidelines and treatment pathways that these clinicians are expected to follow for various conditions. The decision as to which treatment pathway to commence is a vital one to ensure no delays in treating conditions are unnecessary. Sometimes these delays can lead to exacerbation of a condition and even life threatening developments which could have been avoided.

In 2022/2023, over 1700 negligence claims in GP settings were handled by NHS Resolution. More will have been dealt with by individual GP insurers.

There are many ways in which a clinical in a GP setting could be negligent. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Failure to take a full history of the condition leading to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
  • Failure to refer, or delay in referring, to the specialist
  • Failure to refer, delay in referring, and/or incorrect interpretation of investigations and results, including bloodwork and scans
  • Failure to conduct a full examination based on the clinical picture
  • Failure to identify red flags for urgent conditions such as cancer, sepsis, meningitis, cauda equina syndrome, etc.
  • Negligent performance of procedures, such as contraceptive coil fitting, wart freezing, etc

Complications from such negligence can be wide ranging, and in cases of failure or delay in diagnosis of some conditions, can lead to irreversible injury and even death. For example, in a case of sudden onset hearing loss, the clock is ticking to provide interventional treatment to prevent further loss of hearing. In cases of cauda equina syndrome, it is vital for decompression to take place surgically on an urgent basis and as such the referral has to be made quickly. In cases of testicular torsion, you only have a very small window of opportunity to reverse this before the damages to the testes is irreversible. These are only a few examples which highlight the burden on the GPs to identify the differential diagnoses and treat/refer onward urgently.

We are experienced in dealing with these types of claims and if you wish for us to consider this with you, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

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