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Poll reveals GP hospital care fears

A third of GPs know a patient who was given "dangerously sub-standard" care at their local hospital in the past year, according to a poll. One in 10 have even had one of their patients die, potentially as a result of poor hospital care, in the past 12 months.

Sub-standard care can mean a patient being discharged too early, receiving poor A&E treatment or dying because of a missed diagnosis, according to the poll of 500 GPs for Pulse magazine.

Asked if "any of your patients received care at your local hospital within the last year that you have reason to believe was dangerously sub-standard?", 34% of GPs said yes.

Around one in six (16%) would not recommend their local hospital to patients and one in five (21%) would not use the hospital if a member of their family became ill and needed specialist care.

Three-quarters (74%) of GPs have had patients complain to them in the last year about poor-quality care they received at their local hospital.

Meanwhile, a third (32%) of GPs raised concerns about the standard of care at their local hospital in the last year, yet only 42% are confident their complaints are fully investigated and acted upon.

However, on being asked how they would rate "the quality of the clinical care offered by your local hospital?", 64% said "good" or "very good", 27% said "acceptable" and 9% said "poor" or "very poor".

Overall problems are sub-standard nursing care for elderly patients, delays to follow-up appointments and patients discharged so prematurely GPs could "no longer rely upon in-patient care being complete".

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: "There are 40,000 GPs in this country, of which even the 500 who responded to this survey are a small proportion.

"But we are never complacent about patient safety, and have made it very clear that unsafe care will not be tolerated. This is exactly why we want GPs to take charge of services, in order to arrange the care they think is best for their patients."


From Belfast Telegraph