This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Read the latest issue online

CAMHS won't see you now

Panel needs training to vet complaints

I totally sympathise with Dr Gerri McKeever in her plight over a vexatious complaint (June 30). The complaints system lacks the ability to distinguish between genuine and vexatious complaints unless or until an independent review panel has had a hearing, by which time the GP has had a traumatic and very time-consuming experience.

Indeed although such complaints are ultimately seen for what they are ­ pure spite and ignorance ­ they can cause untold damage to the doctor. Indeed several years ago a local GP committed suicide before the panel was able to meet.

I have suffered from such a complaint myself. On duty one night a patient with severe sciatica requested a home visit. This was done promptly and a sciatic stretch test (straight leg raising) was done. The patient developed back spasm at 30 degrees, so the test was stopped and intramuscular pethidine administered with a correct plan for GP follow-up the next morning.

Imagine my amazement when the patient complained the test caused her pain. Even after conciliation the patient demanded a formal hearing and the review panel did not object. Eventually the complaint was dropped but only after I'd endured a prolonged period of stress .

I would urge better training of the panel, including real power to reject claims that border on the ridiculous.

Dr Sohrab Panday


Rate this article 

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Have your say