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