Do you find it too difficult to get an appointment with your local doctor or GP? Perhaps you can only phone between certain times and by the time the line is free all the appointments that day are gone. Or maybe the fearsome receptionist persuades you that you are not really an emergency and gives you an appointment 2 weeks away. Is there a danger that conditions are not diagnosed or treated too late simply because it is harder these days to see your doctor?
There has been a 42% increase in children turning up to Accident and Emergency with routine medical problems – chest infections, fever and rashes – according to a recent medical study. This suggests that parents are giving up on taking trying to get their children to their GP and going instead straight to hospital.
A senior Emergency doctors says there is a ‘desperate need’ to improve access to GPs out of hours. Not only are patients unlikely to get the right level of care by going to Emergency Departments, but there will be a knock-on effect on Emergency Departments. We can expect to see patients waiting there longer and falling victim to medical errors when staff are under extra pressure from an unnecessary volume of work.
The Department of Health says it wants to find ways of improving access to GPs. But with healthcare reforms that will fragment our healthcare and introduce profit as a greater driving force behind GP care, we are likely to see less consistency rather than more.
Paul Sankey is a senior Solicitor specialising in clinical negligence claims. If you or a member of your family have a clinical or medical negligence enquiry, please call our Clinical Negligence Solicitors on 0800 916 9049 or claim online and one of our specialist clinical negligence team will be in touch.