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GP submits formal complaint after discharge summary blames surgeries for ambulance delay

GP submits formal complaint after discharge summary blames surgeries for ambulance delay

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.

And an LMC created a template letter for GPs to send patients to A&E when they are ‘unable to get through’ to a specialist.

Last year, the RCGP disputed the health secretary’s suggestion that people are turning up at A&E because they cannot reach their GP.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Dr N 21 April, 2022 5:49 pm

I made a formal complaint against a paramedic who left a snide remark on the local town facebook site about GPs refusing to see patients. The response was as pathetic as the paramedics ill-informed remarks.

Reply moderated
Patrufini Duffy 21 April, 2022 7:43 pm

I got a “complaint” or what I call a grey tick box blah blah boredom Datix form, from…wait for it…tah dah – a NHS 111 call handler. I know. She didn’t know I picked up, not reception, and was forcing the GP – aka “me” – to see the patient tonight. I said no, send it to A+E because YOU just said the patient is crying in pain – so what exactly do you want General Practice to do with that? She filled in a Datix form, to which I have had 3 reminders to complete. I ensured she added to her Datix that I said send the patient to A+E due to agony and distress. The patient is fine, the call handler cleverly did not ask my position or name. And the system carries on in comedy.

Gerald Morgans 21 April, 2022 8:26 pm

As a retired but still registered GP [from the West Midlands region] of approaching 40 years experience I have noted increasing rudeness and unprofessional comments from Paramedics including those with student paramedics in tow. Previously any help offered to people injured or collapsed in the street was met by thanks and professional respect. Unfortunately the Paramedics in the West Midlands seem to believe the Governments comments about GPs being unavailable for their patients. It is very sad that universal health service pressures are leading to an interprofessional blame game.

Reply moderated
Kevlar Cardie 22 April, 2022 11:32 am

My interactions with paramedics are overwhelmingly, generally very positive but when not the conversation generally goes along the lines of :

“Do you like algebra ?”


“Do you like algebra ?”

“I’m not sure I follow you, doc…”

“You’re a paramedic with pre-hospital care experience. I’m Mb Bch, MRCGP, MRCEM, DMCC and a former ALS, BATLS, MIMMS instructor and I have extensive experience in pre-hospital care. Lets remove the common denominator and see whats left.”

Generally stunned silence follows , which I like to break break with ;

” Remember: the most important fluid on your ambulance is either petrol or diesel. Now stop pfaffing around and get going”.

Arrogant ? Moi? Not really. Not taking the C**p anymore.

Reply moderated
Long Gone 22 April, 2022 11:52 am

A very experienced ex nursing sister remarked to me yesterday that she was disappointed that general practice hadn’t “stepped up” in the crisis.
It beggars belief that GPs are being blamed for the woes of general practice, secondary care and the whole NHS.
Literally unbelievable and stupid.

Ian Pidgeon 25 April, 2022 11:28 am

Copy and pasted from my recent one star “I want great care” review!!!
“On a recent episode where the patient called an ambulance, fearful of the death of her elderly husband, the paramedic telephoned the surgery with a very poor response from this doctor, who was flippant with his remarks. On more than one occasion, visiting paramedics have ‘rolled their eyes’ when the mention of this surgery has been made. This doctor needs to work to restore confidence in the elderly people he administers to, who far too often place the strain on the ambulance service, as they feel this is the only option they have when they need medical attention.”

Honestly…no wonder patients, in the midst of medical need, direct their anger towards GPs – they’re basically instructed to by paramedics!

Kevlar Cardie 25 April, 2022 1:13 pm

Doubleplusgood : the thoughtpolice took my last comments down.

2+2 = 5.

Long live Airstrip One !!!!

Hot Felon 28 April, 2022 4:02 pm

Don’t forget of course that paramedics have crept into that large loving family of ‘clinicians’ which also includes nurses, nurse practitioners, health care assistants and so on.
GPs have been lumped into this group and so we have all been dumbed down.
In the public eye, we are all are on the same footing.
GPs no longer have either identity or public respect.
A paramedic can manage a collapse or chest pain but has no training in hypertension cardiomyopathy aortic stenosis heart failure pulmonary fibrosis End of Life care polypharmacy drug interactions ectopic pregnancy chronic pelvic pain adenomyosis menorrhagia obstetric cholestasis antepartum haemorrhage Kawasaki’s disease acute epiglottitis meningitis bowel obstruction obstructive jaundice rectal bleeding abdominal mass Sarcoidosis Wegener’s granulomatosis sudden deafness Meniere’s disease cholesteatoma acute anterior uveitis acute narrow angle glaucoma retinal detachment optic atrophy brainstem stroke demyelination ALS acute stress reaction psychosis functional neurological disorder depression parasitosis lymphoma neutropenic crisis haemochromatosis NAFL Addisonian crisis HONK DKA NICE Guidances 1-10,000, postop complications time management running a business
To name but a few
In fact, the latest brainwave is to give paramedics a few weeks’ training and turn them into GPs!
Good luck with that