Breast cancer a factor in one in ten medical negligence claims – UK

Date: Oct 31, 2012

In the United Kingdom, breast cancer is a factor in one in ten medical negligence claims against GPs, according to the Medical Protection Society (MPS).

The most common claim themes include ‘failure to perform a physical examination’, as well as failure to refer or follow up with patients after abnormal findings.

The MPS released these results to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

MPS director of policy and communications Dr Stephanie Bown said that these findings should serve as a reminder to GPs to be extra careful when it comes to consulting with patients.

“There is certainly a greater awareness of breast cancer as a disease among patients than there was around 20 years ago. However, it can still be difficult to detect and diagnose, so doctors need to be vigilant when it comes to spotting the signs and careful in carrying out checks and following up referrals,” Dr Bown said in a statement issued October 25.

Medical negligence is a very serious offence which can result in disastrous consequences for patients. If you believe that you are a victim of medical negligence, then it is worth speaking to a qualified legal professional who can help you understand your rights under the law.

In Australia, medical practitioners have what is called a ‘duty of care’ for their patients, which means that they must adhere to a “standard of reasonable care” when advising treatment and so forth.

To be able to qualify for medical negligence compensation, you must be able to prove that the doctor of medical practitioner has breached this duty of care.

There are medical negligence lawyers based in Sydney who operate on a no win no fee basis, meaning that they do not charge a bill unless your claim is successful.

As for doctors who are concerned about conducting medical negligence in error, Dr Bown explains that “many claims relate to poor communication”.

She therefore advises GPS to be especially vigilant about listening to their patients, stating that it is vital “that the doctor is approachable and sensitive to the patient’s needs”.

“This is a timely reminder of the importance of having safe systems to follow up tests and action results properly, and the value of high quality communication with the patient throughout,” Dr Bown added.

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