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James Bell investigates the predicted rise in GP negligence claims

By Principal Lawyer, Clinical Negligence

GP negligence cases, which rose 20% last year, are set to rise again if this article in the Guardian is to be believed.The GPs are faced with a no win situation. Patients who meet certain criteria (e.g. 2 week cancer referrals) must be referred and it would be negligent not to do so. However, despite our growing population GP referrals are actually falling.How can it be that there are 5% fewer referrals than last year? The Ministry of Health is spinning the line that the UK population is 5% healthier and people are being "prevented from being unwell" by the use of other “community healthcare providers".The naïve observer may well want to believe that this is true and all is well with the world but my view is that the MoH is hanging the GPs insurers out to dry - letting their bank balances take the strain of the inevitable increase in negligence claims.  Less referrals = less opportunity to diagnose a serious illness.But there is some respite for the MDU and MPS as Joined Up Government comes to the rescue, with the Ministry of Justice bringing in cuts designed to restrict access to justice just as the health care rationing is implemented.James Bell is a Partner in the Russell Jones & Walker clinical negligence team. If you or a member of your family have a clinical negligence enquiry please call our expert clinical negligence solicitors on 0800 916 9049, fill in our short online claim form or email and one of our specialist clinical negligence team will be in touch.