GPs miss cancer symptoms during video appointments

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11 August, 2022

John Bennett

The Times Newspaper reports "Cancer symptoms are more likely to be missed by GPs because they are now carrying out fewer face-to-face appointments, a study by Oxford University suggests."

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 suspicious mole asks to see their GP. The GP is unable to, or is reluctant to see them face to face. They arrange a telephone consultation, look at a picture of the mole but decide it's nothing sinister, they do not need to examine the patient. The mole turns out to be cancerous. Would the GP be considered negligent?

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 and that it affected the outcome.

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.

We accept cases on a no win no fee basis, backed by an After the Event Insurance policy, when required.

For more information contact John Bennett in our Clinical Negligence department via email or phone on 01254 872111. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

Learn more about our Clinical Negligence department here

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