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Sunday 20th May 2018

OOH complaints rise

28th January 2010

Complaints against out-of-hours consultations have risen significantly, according to a medical insurer.


The Medical Defence Union (MDU) say there has been a 53% increase in complaints related to out-of-hours consultations notified by its GP members.

The MDU also notes that out-of-hours care now makes up a higher proportion – some 10% - of overall complaints it receives.

MDU figures show that it was notified of 517 complaints related to out-of-hours consultations by GP members in 2007 and 2008, compared with 337 in the previous two years, an increase of 53%.

However, MDU says on average about two-thirds of claims are discontinued or unsuccessful.

MDU head of risk management Dr Stephen Green said: "Out-of-hours care continues to represent a significant and growing proportion of the complaints we see.

"This analysis also highlights the communication challenges associated with OOH consultations which may make a complaint more likely if something goes wrong, compared to consultations within surgery hours.

"With these factors in mind, we are advising OOH doctors to pay particular attention to the need for clear, unambiguous communication with patients and colleagues, including accurate and comprehensive note-taking and arranging follow-up if necessary.”

Other data released in the MDU study shows that 120 complaints and 52 claims included allegations of apparent failures or delays in diagnosis or referral. The most common conditions involved were myocardial infarction, septicaemia and meningitis.

There were 75 complaints and 17 claims made following the death of a patient and 71 complaints included allegations of rudeness or that the doctor had an uncaring manner.


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