The incidences of diagnostic error in medicine are as high as one in six patients who have been treated by their GP’s.
This is a disturbing figure and there are still many people whom are reluctant to report mistakes by their doctor. With the NHS being overstretched and the necessity to meet targets, this is exacerbating the likelihood of errors being made. Doctors do not have enough time to properly diagnose patients; some are harmed or even die because they problems are not identified.
The General Medical Council gets more complaints about GP’s than any other branch of medicine. Furthermore, two thirds of complaints received by the Care Quality Commission said misdiagnosis was a main factor.
The British Medical Journal conducted a study and found that the most common misadventure resulting in claims was a delay in diagnosis which represented up to 60% of claims. The common missed or delayed diagnosis included cancer, myocardial infracts (heart attacks) and meningitis in children. Medication errors represented the second commonest complaint.
Delayed diagnosis errors are common in cancer, mainly lung, breast and colorectal cancers. Heart attacks are rarer in young people, so doctors may not suspect this diagnosis. Sometimes GP can mistake signs of heart problems as gastric complaint. This could prove fatal.
We naturally place a great deal of trust in our GP to treat our illness quickly and effectively and should a misdiagnosis or delay in treatment occur an earlier diagnosis could have made all the difference. If you believe you have suffered as a result of a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, call on the above number for a free consultation.