Exclusive A GP has formally complained to an ambulance trust, after a patient discharge summary it produced blamed general practice for ambulance delays.
An incident in the West Midlands on 28 March, which did not involve GPs, led to an elderly male patient dying after three calls to 999.
The ambulance arrived three hours after the first call was made.
The patient discharge summary, written by the paramedic crew and seen by Pulse, said: ‘Family obviously very upset over lack of ambulance arrival earlier, family showed no animosity to crew, they stated they understood GP surgeries are causing problems and ambulances are having to queue at hospital along with the service being abused.’
Following the incident, Dr Omar Hussain, the patient’s GP and Newcastle Central PCN clinical director with a special interest in ambulatory emergency care, wrote a complaint to West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS).
He wrote: ‘It is astounding and upsetting to read that crew are trying to deflect WMAS’s own failure at the time of a patient’s death onto the GP.’
Dr Hussain said he has already spoken to the patient’s next of kin, with whom the surgery has ‘always had a great doctor patient relationship with’, to offer his condolences.
He said: ‘This comment [blaming GPs] definitely did not come from them and they are frankly disgusted by the events of the day.’
Dr Hussain said he welcomes a ‘full investigation’ and a response to his complaint, and would also like to meet with the trust alongside LMC colleagues to ‘look at proactive solutions.
Dr Hussain added that locally, GP practices are ‘aware of hostile attitudes and comments’ made to patients by paramedics about GPs and GP surgeries which are ‘potentially libellous’.
‘Who or what is driving the negative agenda towards GP surgeries?’ he asked in the complaint.
He also said it is ‘not the first time we have had delays’ and that local GPs are ‘aware of multiple cases of… acutely unstable patients waiting hours for 999 response’.
Primary care is not the place to treat acute medical emergencies, Dr Hussain said, and this message must be ‘conveyed down the system’ as well as the need for ‘a level of respect towards fellow healthcare professionals’.
He said: ‘I am sorry but blaming hardworking GPs who have adapted better than most to the new challenges and way of working (alongside leading the biggest vaccination campaign the UK has ever seen vaccinating millions of patients and healthcare staff) does not cut it.’
The GP community in the West Midlands welcomes paramedic colleagues to spend time at GP surgeries to ‘understand our working patterns, challenges and restrictions on what we can and cannot perform in a primary care setting’, he concluded.
Adding that it is ‘detrimental’ to patient care and the GP-patient relationship for the ‘toxic message’ to continue.
‘[The obstacles] do not lie at the footsteps of our surgeries, we do not call or signpost patients to paramedics unnecessarily.’
North Staffordshire LMC secretary and GP Dr Chandra Kanneganti said on Twitter that paramedics are ‘not supporting GPs to cover up their own problems in their own service’, despite ‘overwhelming evidence’.
A WMAS spokesperson told Pulse: ‘The NHS remains under pressure and, alongside other healthcare providers, our staff are working tirelessly to deliver the best patient care possible.
‘We are investigating Dr Hussain’s complaint and will respond to him directly, once concluded.’
Recently, the BMA and RCGP suggested that all health professionals working in secondary care should spend ‘at least’ a year working in general practice as part of their training.