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Ombudsman Warns GP’s Over Handling of Complaints

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The NHS ombudsman warns GP’s to improve communication between themselves and patients to avoid even more patient complaints.

Last year 17% of all complaints received by the ombudsman were regarding local doctors and over a fifth of those were complaints from patients who felt they had been unfairly removed from their doctor’s lists.

According to the British Medical Association (BMA), anti-social behaviour caused by one member of a family shouldn’t mean that other family members are struck off the list.

Ann Abraham, of the ombudsman states that although the NHS will not accept aggressive behaviour towards it’s staff, warnings should be issued before a patient is disallowed any further service from the surgery.

“We have seen cases where practices have removed entire families after a few angry words from one individual, without giving them a warning or taking the time to understand the cause of the anger and frustration,” she added.

Furthermore, giving an example of one investigated case, she describes an elderly woman, and her family, being removed from her doctors list whilst she was dying. The reason being that her daughter changed a battery on the device providing her medication.

In this instance no family member was given any warning before being removed leaving the ill woman, “totally distraught.”

Ms Abraham noted that improvements in dealing with complaints was slow and that she is dealing with minor disagreements that should have been resolved by GP’s surgeries.

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