Medical negligence claims against GPs are on the rise and patients are being let down by a lack of data. And personal injury solicitors have been dealing with an increasing number of personal injury compensation cases filed against family practitioners over the past five years.
Although patients still say they have faith in GPs and NHS primary care is regarded highly, research by the Kings Fund found that standards of care across the country vary enormously.
There is currently no data on GP performance so the coalition is going to launch a website later this year that pulls together what little information there is. Patients will then be able to check the website to find out more details about their local practice.
One GP said patients would find it useful to know how many errors are made in medication, how many patients suspected of having cancer are referred to a specialist within two weeks and whether the surgery is successful at keeping diabetic patients out of hospital.
The General Medical Council receives more complaints about General Practitioners than it does for any other branch of medicine, even though GPs account for only 25% of all doctors.
Mis-diagnosis accounts for the majority of medical negligence claims and in some cases this proves fatal. One firm of medical negligence solicitors has dealt with various such cases over the past five years including a GP who told a woman she had a gastric complaint when in fact she suffered heart problems and another GP who failed to diagnose acute diabetes.