Public ‘trusts GPs’, but complaints rise
8:00pm Wednesday 19th September 2012 in Latest News
SWINDON doctors believe public confidence in GPs remains high, despite figures in a new report.
Complaints made to the General Medical Council about doctors in the UK has risen 23 per cent in the past year.
The GMC report shows there were 8,781 complaints in 2011 compared with 7,153 in 2010. The rise is part of a trend which has seen complaints jump by 69 per cent in three years.
But the regulator said there was no evidence to suggest care was getting worse and instead claimed the rise was down to greater expectations and willingness to complain.
Niall Dickson, chief executive of the GMC, said: “While we do need to develop a better understanding of why complaints to us are rising, we do not believe it reflects falling standards of medical practice.
“Every day there are millions of interactions between doctors and patients and all the evidence suggests public trust and confidence in doctors remains extremely high.”
Dr Peter Swinyard, senior partner at Phoenix Surgery, in Toothill , agreed. He said: “Underlying all this is the increasing expectations of wisdom and infallibility from GPs.
“The pressures on GPs are vastly greater than they were even 10 years ago. We manage more complex illnesses in the community and people are discharged from hospital to our care often while they are still actually quite ill.
“People come to us for a 10 to 12-minute appointments with two, three or more problems, all of which they quite reasonably expect to be dealt with. We also try to inject health promotion and disease prevention into the consultation as well as dealing with occasionally recalcitrant computer systems.
“The GP will give an opinion to the patient and always do their best – but we must also remember there is a growing minority of patients who are aggressive to receptionists and health care professionals.
“My understanding is that 75 per cent of complaints to the GMC are screened out as showing no significant professional misconduct.”
An NHS Swindon spokesman said: “Thirty one complaints were made to NHS Swindon Primary Care Trust for the year 2011/12 regarding GP services. Concerns raised were about access to appointments, the attitude of GPs and staff, and clinical and nursing care provided by the practices. NHS Swindon is working with the GP practices to identify improvements and achieve a satisfactory outcome for the patient.”