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‘Poor communication’ is main trigger for complaints against GPs

Failures in communication and poor behaviour are the main driver for complaints against GPs, a new survey has found.

A YouGov poll of more than 2,000 British adults found said that 83% of patients said they would be unlikely to complain if their GP communicated ‘openly with empathy’.

A third of respondents said that poor manner and attitude were the reasons for complaints.

Other reasons given for complaining in the online survey, which was commissioned by medical indemnity organisation Medical Protection, were misdiagnosis (20%), unmet expectations (18%) and a poor outcome following treatment (13%).

Dr Pallavi Bradshaw, senior medicolegal adviser at Medical Protection said: ‘Communication and behaviour sit at the heart of all GP consultations and many of the complaints we see are rooted in communication. The importance of manner, body language and tone can sometimes be overlooked in a busy clinic and under the pressure of a 10 minute consultation.

’Making a patient feel relaxed and that they are being listened to can make the difference between a positive experience and a consultation which leaves a patient feeling dissatisfied and more likely to seek redress.’