I have always tried to defend the NHS and my local provider wherever I may be, knowing that care isn't as perfect as it could be – but unfortunately my recent experience at the hands of my local hospital has shattered my delusions.
I feel if I refer my patients to that particular department I may be complicit in the negligence of care that I witnessed.
I am in the process of complaining, but my concern is if my eyes were only opened by my personal experience of substandard care (which a non-medic may not have noted) how can I be confident in the care of patients who I send to other departments – departments of which I have had no experience? This lack of confidence in the quality of secondary care has undermined my own confidence in returning to work and is a further stress added to those already working hard in primary care.
Now I not only feel a responsibility for my performance in the primary care setting, but also feel I have to monitor in detail the secondary care my patients will receive.
Added to the pressures of commissioning, the increasing stresses of maintaining viable partnerships and patient expectations of what we are able to deliver, it seems yet another squeeze on an already highly stressed situation.
There seems to be a lack of willingness to take responsibility in secondary care – and as a relatively young GP I am sad I have now joined the primary versus secondary care conflict.
From Dr Ayla McCamphill-Rose
Thames Ditton, Surrey