Just 10 years ago, GP negligence claims were relatively scarce, not because GP's didn't commit acts of negligence but because people were reluctant to bring an action against the "family doctor" - those days have gone. Ultimately, it seems as demands on services increase, the old relationships that sued to be formed between patients and GP's have disappeared. Now, its a rare thing indeed to see the same doctor twice in a row.
Sometimes an entire team of doctors can turn over between visits. In the south of England large franchises have begun to purchase or open surgeries and they are frequently staffed entirely be short term contract workers or by locums. In other cases, the only available appointments are out of hours contracts which are frequently not even within local GP services buildings but require you to attend out of hours clinics or even hospital consulting rooms. All of this means the old relationships have been strained and patients are more likely to bring complaints and / or to resort to litigation if they suffer inadequate treatment.
GP Claims typically fall into 4 categories.
1. Delay in Diagnosis
Where a condition is just not recognised promptly and therefore treated despite the symptoms being ones that should be recognised and would be recognised by a reasonable doctor. The delay could be a few months or even years depending on the underlying condition. Typically the prolonged delay results in a exacerbation of the patients condition or a prolonging of symptoms beyond which the patient would normally have to suffer.
2. Failure to Diagnose
Where a condition never gets to be recognised until some external event intervenes (normally a trip to Accident and Emergency) this then brings about a an examination and a history and a clinician fills in the gaps. This then hopefully results in the treatment that should have been applied. In some cases the history is much sadder but the principal here applies, a reasonable doctor would / should have known.
The Doctor reaches the wrong conclusion, usually resulting in a delay in proper treatment (as in 1) and worse, possibly causing the condition to react poorly to the wrong treatment that is being provided or even adding to the real conditions symptoms.
4. Mismanagement of a Condition
The doctor is aware of your condition but does not treat it optimally. Typical examples are a failure to refer, prescribing the wrong medication, failing to take account of new treatments or putting into place a proper review of the condition.
Whatever the circumstances of your treatment call to discuss your options. We can then talk about the various types of gp negligence and what possible compensation there may be for you and how your treatment can be amended.