Why do we complain about doctors?
September 06, 2010
Posted by:Suzanne Trask
Written complaints about NHS hospital and community health services in England have risen more sharply than ever before. The total has been reported recently to have risen from 89,139 to 101,077, an increase of 13.4%. The largest group of complaints (44%) related to doctors. The most common complaint was about treatment received (42%), then the attitude of staff (12%).So what is the reason for this? Patients often feel that doctors aren't open with them, and donn't treat them as equals. It may seem as if a doctor just doesn't have the time to explain something to you.
A patient who is repeatedly dismissed by a GP because they keep returning to report a 'minor' symptom, such as back ache or abdominal pain, may not feel that they are being taken seriously and lose faith in the doctor. They may even change GP practice.
A more frightening reason for the relationship breaking down is if the patient later finds that he or she has been wrongly reassured, and that there has been a delay in diagnosing a more serious condition. The delay in getting treatment caused by the repeated reassurances provided by the GP could have made a significant difference to the outcome. Unfortunately, I hear this situation over and over again. I only hope that there is a way for this to change, and for GP's to feel able to spend more time with patients, to look back through their medical records when repeat attendances occur for the same problem and to consider the patient's condition as a whole before dismissing their symptoms as a minor problem. The pressure on GPs to move through short appointments with increasing numbers of patients means that this is not always possible. The huge value of the quality of time spent with patients, rather than the number of patients seen by doctors, must be recognised to create the best patient care possible.
If you have a concern about the medical treatment that you have received, and think that this has caused you an injury, please contact me