Substandard Health Care

Poor health care and lack of attention on the part of GPs and health institutions have serious consequences on people’s health and the deterioration of a patient’s condition. This is not acceptable. Top quality, efficient health care should be the goal of all health institutions so as to avoid serious outcomes.

Delays in diagnosis

Serious problems have been reported in delayed diagnosis by health professionals of young people between the ages of 13 – 24.

Disturbingly, results from research conducted by a charity show that common initial cancer symptoms are not being sufficiently investigated by GPs. Of two thirds of young people who visited their GPs displaying at least one of the common symptoms, a third was not followed up on. Even more worryingly, a quarter of the participants paid four or more visits to their GPs before their symptoms were taken seriously.

Suggested education on cancer awareness being taught in schools is considered to be a first-rate idea but the more pressing issue is the fact that doctors are missing the initial symptoms which means young people are not referred for specialist treatment at the earliest possible moment. Early diagnosis of cancer is vital to avoid more aggressive treatments.

Inadequate Standard of Health Care

Early diagnosis of cancer symptoms is not the only area where the level of health care is insufficient.

In 2001, a clear set of standards for good diabetes care were developed by the Department of Health. This included nine basic processes which each person with diabetes should undergo each year in an effort to reduce the risk of avoidable diabetes complications. However, according to a report carried out by the National Audit Office, only half of the 3.1 million people with diabetes are receiving these checks.

The report also revealed failings in NHS care of diabetes sufferers claiming the shocking occurrence of 24,000 unnecessary deaths each year and other avoidable complications such as blindness, amputation and kidney disease, all of which could be avoided through a better level of care.

Poor Record Keeping

The Daily Telegraph published a report demonstrating other examples of low standards in health care by the Imperial College Healthcare Trust in London. More than 1,000 people have been affected by incomplete records or ‘losing track’ of patients referred from GPs with signs of cancer. Patients waited as long as two years to be treated after their records were lost. The NICE referral guidelines for suspected cancer patients stipulate strict timeframes for seeing patients that have been referred.

Also, under the NHS constitution, all patients have the right to treatment within 18 weeks of their first referral by a GP. At the Imperial College Health Care Trust, it is estimated that around 3,500 patients waited longer than the 18 week period for treatment and operations. Waiting too long and the lack of diagnosis or treatment at an early stage can have serious consequences and increase the likelihood of the patients’ deterioration in health. It is to be hoped that this delay has not adversely affected the patients involved.

Adequate standards of health care are not being delivered with some serious consequences. The Department of Health Care needs to be held accountable for its substandard care. Health professionals should take appropriate caution towards any initial signs of cancer to avoid more serious consequences. If there are circumstances where you think better care should have been given to either yourself or a family member, it is worth considering getting in touch with specialist medical negligence solicitors to discuss the matter further.  The Department of Health must deliver equal standards in all regions, which was promised to diabetes patients. Early signs of illness cannot be missed and records cannot be lost. Greater attention must be paid to top quality delivery of all health care in the country to reduce undue suffering and avoidable complications.