Poll exposes how time pressures are compromising doctors’ ability to accurately diagnose
Nine out of 10 GPs fear that they will miss a crucial symptom relating to a patient’s diagnosis because they are so busy, according to a poll of family doctors.
The poll, which was conducted by ComRes on 504 GPs across the UK on behalf of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), also revealed that one in 10 felt so overworked due to increasing demand for care and the move towards seven-day GP services that they will quit within the next year.
Of the poll’s respondents, 99% stated that their workload had risen, 29% had sought help as a result of work-related stress and 97% believed morale had worsened.
The findings underline mounting doubts over whether or not the government will deliver its promise of increasing the number of GP’s by 5,000 by 2020.
The budget for general practice has fallen to 9% of the NHS’ overall budget, despite the ageing population placing extra demand and responsibilities on GPs.
Linda Millband, head of the medical negligence team at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “The government is putting doctors under increased pressure, which is not fair or safe for either the GPs themselves or their patients. The money going into general practice needs to be increased to ensure that GPs can provide the best possible quality of care, they are the NHS frontline.
“At Thompsons, we have extensive experience of handling medical negligence cases and our concern is that these will simply increase if the government does not prioritise patient safety and invest in staff and our NHS.”
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