GP Delay - Times Report Today

John Bennett
John Bennett

Published: April 8th, 2022

7 min read

Third of patients find they have cancer only at A&E

The Times Newspaper reports "Some 326,000 fewer people in England received an urgent referral from a GP to a specialist for suspected cancer during the first year of the pandemic. Cancer screening programmes were also halted, while many patients said difficulties seeing a GP meant they were only diagnosed after going to A&E.

Early diagnosis is often key to cancer survival and treatment. It is often a difficult balance for a GP dealing with the demands of a busy practice. This should not however detract from their primary duty to act appropriately.

A health care professional will be deemed negligent if the treatment, or lack of it, is deemed to have fallen below the standard expected of a reasonably competent clinician, dealing with the patient's particular condition at that time.

For example, a patient with a painful and increasing lump or lesion on their leg, seeks a consultation. Their doctor is unable to or reluctant to see them face to face, arranges a telephone consultation and takes the view they still do not need to see the patient. The lump turns out to be cancerous. If most doctors agree they would have done the same thing, then that would not be considered negligent. If some would and some wouldn't, that would still not be considered negligent. If most of them are of the view the treatment was below standard, then it would be considered substandard and negligent.

The patient would then have to prove an earlier referral would have made a difference to the outcome. If an earlier referral would have made no difference, then there is no causative effect.

GP's are effectively judged by their peers in Clinical Negligence settings. Expert evidence is usually required to prove the treatment was below standard.

If you, a loved one, or a friend have been the victim of a delayed diagnosis, cancer case and would like some advice, please contact one of the team for some No win, no fee, no obligation advice.

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