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GPs buried under trusts' workload dump

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

Peterborough

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