Poor Communication is still a leading predisposing factor for Claims

To understand why a patient becomes a claimant it is important to remember the two foundations on which claims arise. Predisposing factors set the scene: these are for example being kept waiting, not receiving a doctor’s full attention, feeling rushed and so on. Patients very much associate the quality of care with the quality of communication, even though there is no such association.

If an adverse event (not necessarily one in which there is blame) or if an actual mistake arises in their care then this acts as the precipitating factor to bringing a claim.

Those accepting instructions from potential claimants should be ever mindful of the potential for such a claim to be meritless and simply a method of a disgruntled patient striking back at their doctor. That said, there are countless instances every day when patients are frankly short changed by the doctor. An interesting study highlights how little we understand our own care.

Key Facts About Patient Anxiety

    The study by AXA PPP healthcare identified the following: –

  • 2000 adults took part;
  • 1 in 10 18-24 year olds thinks that a benign condition is terminal;
  • 31% feel confused, anxious and uneasy after failing to understand what their GP told them;
  • 21% felt their appointment was too rushed to have things explained properly.

This study serves to highlight my point that there is a huge behaviour by GPs which predisposes patients to advance clinical negligence claims. If one third of those in the study did not understand their GP and one fifth felt rushed, it is not hard to see how the goodwill of patients is being rapidly eroded by the behaviour of their GP.

I have yet to see a study which looks at how much a client understands what their solicitor or barrister told them – without a great deal of professional care it could be the case that the legal profession is even further behind than the doctors.

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Dr Grant Charlesworth-Jones

Dr. Charlesworth-Jones not only holds dual qualifications in both medicine and law but also continues to practice both.

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