The GP is on the front lines of medical treatment. They are usually the first place that we go to when we feel unwell, and as a result, are the first stage of treatment. They are often the first medical professional to make a diagnosis, and that means that they have to undergo years of training so that they can understand and recognise a wide variety of conditions. Sometimes, even the best GP can make a mistake, and that can have serious consequences. Whether it causes an illness to get worse or results in unnecessary psychological or physical harm, if your GP makes a mistake caused by negligence then you may be able to make a claim. Here are some of the most common examples of GP medical negligence.
Misdiagnosis: If your GP fails to diagnose you correctly then you may be given the wrong treatment. This can not only cause further harm but also fail to tackle the initial issue.
Lack of Patient History: Your GP should always have access to your medical records. If they fail to check your medical records then they may miss out on key aspects that will affect your treatment options. If your GP fails to check your medical history then mistakes can happen.
No Examination: Your GP should conduct a thorough examination of you when you visit them with an issue. If they fail to do so then they may miss signs of further concern. Missing those signs can lead to further complications.
Medication Mistakes: Everyone makes mistakes, but when your health relies on the skill of your GP, those mistakes can cause serious harm. If your GP prescribes you the wrong medication then you could end up with even more health problems.
Lack of Investigation: Some conditions will require further investigation. If your GP does not follow the investigation through, then that is considered to be negligent. This is usually for serious cases such as:
- Brain conditions such as haemorrhages
- Unstable angina
Failure to refer: One of the key roles of a GP is knowing when to refer a patient to a specialist. GPs are usually excellent for all-round diagnosis, but they will often need to refer a patient to a specialist for further treatment. If they fail to do so then they are being medically negligent.
Compensation Claims and Your GP
Your GP could work for the NHS or they could be a private practitioner. Which one they are will have an effect on the process of your claim. You cannot sue an NHS GP as a private individual. Instead, you will be bringing your case against the relevant NHS body. For private practitioners, they will commonly have some form of clinical negligence insurance to cover any potential compensation claims.
Your GP is the first step in your treatment of many illnesses and health issues. Many people feel uncomfortable with the idea of suing their GP. This can be down to personal loyalty, or the fact that registering with a new GP is restricted by distance. However, the harm caused by GP negligence can have serious long-term consequences. While mistakes can happen, if professional standards are not being adhered to by your GP then you could end up suffering physically, mentally, and financially.