This site is intended for health professionals only

Going the extra mile for a patient

From Dr H Q Siddiqi, Manchester

Having read the article on true GP heroes, I felt the need to let you know my story.

Back in May I was told that a patient’s podiatrist had suggested ‘complain about your GP to your MP’ as a means to obtaining a treatment for her foot.

This set off a long chain of events after which I uncovered that the processes and systems failure which led to this had nothing to do with me and were very complex in terms of both who held the responsibility and how this treatment was funded and procured. Not everything is solved by the ‘Go to your GP mantra’.

My first priority was to ensure that my patient started on the therapy which was needed and then I wrote to the chief executive of a large well known tertiary level hospital with all the emails that had to be sent to different people in order to get her that treatment, even though strictly speaking it was out of my remit. But GPs will always go that extra mile for their patients.

In my letter to the chief executive I expressed my disappointment at what had happened at his hospital for which I was being made a scapegoat and also that I had been complained about to the MP on the advice of the podiatrist.

The chief executive constituted a two member investigation team and wrote back to me with the findings a month later.

I received a three page letter from the chief executive himself in which he acknowledged that the systems had failed the patient and me. These systems were reviewed not only for that trust but for the entire team which was involved and the teams in the neighbouring trusts as well due to the complexity of the procurement process. He apologised for the failings of the trust and asked me to forward the findings of the internal investigation to the MP which I have done.

My patient’s foot was saved from amputation. I did not report the podiatrist to her professional body as she had already been reprimanded by her seniors for her unprofessional behaviour and I am hoping she has learnt a lesson from this and hopefully will be careful in the future. I did not want to jeopardise her career because I believe everyone deserves a second chance.

I reported this case (along with a few others) to the Clinical Director of the CCG -he was impressed enough to bear me in mind if there is a role in patient safety at the CCG in the future.

*Details have been changed to protect patient confidentiality