Wednesday, January 17, 2024
HomeHealth LawDigital GP consultations – what are the dangers? | Medical Negligence and...

Digital GP consultations – what are the dangers? | Medical Negligence and Private Harm Weblog | Kingsley Napley

GP consultations undertaken remotely – both on-line or by telephone – might result in severe hurt and even demise, a current examine by a group together with researchers from the College of Oxford and revealed within the BMJ High quality and Security Journal has discovered. In accordance with the report a distant session has the next diploma of inherent uncertainty. It is because a scientific evaluation with out a bodily examination gives much less data.

Distant GP consultations turned commonplace through the pandemic and there have been stories that as many as one third of all GP appointments are actually performed ‘just about’. This observe is one thing that I’m changing into more and more conscious of in my work as a medical negligence solicitor. Certainly, the Oxford College examine factors out that considerations have been raised in regards to the security of this observe, together with the potential for missed cancers and avoidable deaths.

The examine discovered that issues included missed, inaccurate or delayed diagnoses, underestimating the severity or urgency of a affected person’s situation and delayed referrals. It cited numerous cases the place the affected person died, together with the case of a 16-year-old lady who was identified with glandular fever over the phone by a GP however who died from sepsis shortly thereafter.

Distracted reception employees

The examine additionally highlighted the case of a breathless aged girl who spoke with a GP receptionist on the phone and was instructed that she can be placed on a callback checklist. Nonetheless, the receptionist failed to do that, having been distracted by one other affected person within the ready room. The lady died that afternoon. The examine famous that a number of incidents have been linked to a busy employees member changing into distracted.  This side of the examine reinforces the views of many who the controversial Darnley v. Croydon Well being Companies NHS Belief choice was actually logical and proper – and {that a} responsibility of care needs to be imposed on administrative assist employees to supply correct data.

More durable to get the true image

The significance of face-to-face consultations in an effort to collect sufficient data and make scientific assessments is clearly evident. With digital consultations it may be tough to totally assess somebody’s general well being and wellbeing in addition to their stage of agitation, common manner and socio-economic circumstances. In accordance with the Oxford College examine some security incidents urged ‘perfunctory and transactional’ phone consultations, with flawed choices made primarily based on incomplete data. Incidents have been discovered to have occurred on account of clinicians assuming {that a} prognosis made on a distant session was definitive reasonably than provisional.

As a medical negligence lawyer, I’m conscious about the numerous significance of full assessments and clear communication between physician and affected person in avoiding affected person security incidents and poor affected person outcomes.

The Authorities has confirmed that it needs extra sufferers to be seen face-to-face and earlier this yr a brand new plan was launched to ‘make it simpler for sufferers to see their GP by utilising the most recent advances in telephones and on-line methods. Nonetheless, the Shadow Well being Secretary Wes Streeting was reported by Sky Information on the time as saying that nothing throughout the new plan would ‘enable sufferers to decide on a face-to-face appointment’.                                                       

How we may help

The group at Kingsley Napley are very skilled in bringing claims for medical negligence the place a affected person has been harmed on account of issues with GP care, together with the place there have been points with the actions of reception or nursing employees.  If you want to talk to us to us for a no obligation dialogue then you’ll be able to contact us here.


If in case you have any questions, please contact James Bell in our Medical Negligence and Private Harm group. 



James Bell is the top of our Medical Negligence and Private Harm observe and joined the agency in 2023 from Hodge, Jones & Allen. He has undertaken medical negligence instances for over 20 years.




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