Patients fear retaliation if they complain

Sept. 27, 2012 at 11:30 PM
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LONDON, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Almost one patient in every 20 who submits a formal complaint against a primary care physician in Britain gets dropped as a patient, a non-profit says.

The report, "Patients and General practitioners -- Partners in Care," by the Patients Association, also said many doctors lack compassion, have poor communication skills and act in a "rude and dismissive" manner towards patients, The Daily Telegraph reported.

"One of the great unspoken scandals of the National Health Service is that the risk of being removed from your GP's list because you make a complaint against them deters many patients from doing so, despite this practice being widely condemned by doctors groups and the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman," the report said.

Twenty-one percent of the complaints about primary care physicians to the Ombudsman relate to "inappropriate deregistration," the report said.

The Royal College of General Practitioners said patients were only removed as a last resort and the General Medical Council said doctors "must be prepared to justify their decisions," the Telegraph said.

"Any breakdown in the relationship between GP and patient is highly regrettable and removals from the practice list are used only as a last resort," Dr. Clare Gerada of the Royal College of General Practitioners said in a statement. "GPs and their teams will always do their best to resolve issues speedily and fairly."

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