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Shortages force GPs to halt MMR catch-up

The Healthcare Commission has blamed Government failings for the massive backlog in cases since it took over the independent review stage of the complaints procedure.

Complaints have trebled since the commission took up the role last July, leading to massive delays and forcing it to spend over £1 million hiring independent contractors to handle 'low risk' cases.

Marcia Fry, head of operational development for the Healthcare Commission, said the Government refused to give it extra money to help it deal with its new role ­ even though the commission predicted a huge increase in cases.

She added: 'There was uncertainty around when the system would start. We couldn't scale up to the level of demand.'

The number of investigations is set to rise from 3,000 last year to 10,000 by the end of the year to July.

Defence bodies said cases were moving 'very slowly'. Dr Hugh Stewart, a medicolegal adviser with the Medical Defence Union, said: 'It is very stressful for our members.'

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