More than one in three cancer patients diagnosed in A&E departments had their symptoms missed at least three times by their GP, new figures have revealed.
The research by Cambridge University, University College London and Public Health England found that family doctors are repeatedly failing to spot the disease. The study of more than 4,600 people found GPs were most likely to miss myeloma, lymphoma, and lung cancer.
Patients are more likely to survive if their condition is diagnosed in the early stages of illness before the tumour is given time to grow.
More than 356,000 people are diagnosed with cancer each year in the UK, with around 80,000 diagnosed in A&E.
The study, which examined 4,647 cancer patients diagnosed in English A&E units in 2010, found that older men living in poorer areas were most likely to be affected by a non-diagnosis of cancer, but it did not speculate on why GPs were missing the disease nor why UK survival rates are lower than in the rest of Europe.
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), said: “Early diagnosis of cancer leads to better health outcomes for our patients and we know that those who visit their GP, in the majority of cases, will be diagnosed at a timely stage.
“GPs take their role in diagnosing cancer as early as possible very seriously and we would urge patients who experience any concerning or persistent symptoms to book an appointment with their GP.
“Family doctors would be helped by increased access to new and improved diagnostic tools to help them identify cancers that are more difficult to spot, and this is something that the RCGP has long been calling for.”
How can Gotelee help?
GPs are among the most trusted medical professionals in the NHS. But sometimes errors are made – and when they are, patients have a right to seek compensation if the treatment was negligent.
Examples of medical negligence by a GP include:
– Failure to refer to a specialist causing a delay in diagnosis
– Prescription errors
– Failure to see a patient or visit them at home after having said that they will do so
– Failure to carry out appropriate tests/investigations
Making a claim could result in the person affected receiving the necessary financial help to deal with the consequences of an error, as well as providing closure and helping to ensure the same mistake isn’t repeated.
Gotelee has a wealth of experience in this area and can advise you whether or not you have the basis of a claim.
To find out more, call us on 01473 298125.