It seems that every other day there appears to be a news story about the growing problems facing the NHS.
Research carried out by the Health Foundation has looked at the average consultation length for GP appointments in the UK. The research found that average consultation length is 10 minutes. This is thought to be the shortest in the developed world.
In addition the research found that 92% of consultations in the UK are completed in less than 15 minutes compared with just 27% of consultations in the other 11 countries surveyed.
GP’s have criticised the fact that the time to carry out consultations is too short, but with the growing workload faced by GP’s due to hospital closures and an aging population the consultation times are likely to continue to get shorter.
The pressures faced by hospitals have exacerbated the situation. As people see longer A&E waiting times and long waiting lists for operations, GPs have to deal with complex and deteriorating patients and they may not always be qualified to provide the correct care. Short appointments can lead to symptoms being missed and patient safety being affected.
The government are aiming to increase the number of GPs in England by 5,000 by 2020 (an increase of 16%) and have introduced the GP investment programme to “help cut red tape, pay some of GPs’ high insurance costs, and deliver innovative new schemes to retain more GPs” however, it has yet to be seen how effective this programme is.
With the increasing strains on all aspects of the NHS patient safety in under greater threat than ever and we have seen a rise in the number of clients contacting our offices about the treatment received by their GP. Although the doctors are working to the best of their ability in difficult circumstances it does not negate the fact that if a mistake is made which adversely affects your health you may be entitled to compensation.
If you have any questions about potentially negligent medical treatment, please contact our Medical Negligence department on 0161 832 3304.