'Worrying' Concerns Raised Over Out-Of-Hours GP Service In Norfolk And Wisbech

Medical Negligence Specialists Call For Swift Improvements

06.07.2016

Oliver Wicks, Press Officer | 0114 274 4649

An out-of-hours GP service in Norfolk and Wisbech has been told by a health regulator that it must improve after it was revealed that patients are waiting too long to speak to or see a professional.

Leading medical negligence experts at national law firm Irwin Mitchell have called the findings ‘worrying’ and feel that unless improvements happen quickly there is a real risk of patients not getting the support and treatment they need at a crucial time and their condition deteriorating instead of improving.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said Integrated Care 24 (IC24), which runs non-emergency 111 and out-of-hours services in Norfolk and Wisbech, needs to do more to recruit and retain GPs.

Inspectors who visited in March with 48 hours' notice found that patients were waiting too long to speak to or see GPs.

The report also questioned if nurses had the adequate training to deal with more complex issues after inspectors said there was evidence that new staff have had extra skills training but existing staff.

Inspectors also raised concerns about weekend cover with one example of a shortage of GPs in the whole area over a 24-hour period on a Saturday.

IC24, Chief Executive, Yvonne Taylor, said: “Those issues identified within the CQC’s report were already known to us and being dealt with, as stated by the regulator.”

Guy Forster, a Partner and medical negligence expert at Irwin Mitchell, feels changes need to be implemented to ensure that no patients are unnecessarily put at risk.

Expert Opinion
“Wherever you live in the country, you should feel confident in our health service knowing the right help and support is available whenever you fall ill – this currently isn’t the case here and swift improvements are needed.

“Unfortunately injury and illness don’t always occur at the most convenient times and out-of-hours GP services must ensure they are best prepared to deal with calls and enquiries, when they come in.”

“We appreciate that those in charge of the service in Norfolk and Wisbech are working hard to make changes but they must ensure that these are a priority or they run the real risk of patients failing to get the care they deserve and their condition deteriorating as a result.

"Through our work, we have seen too many cases when people have suffered as a result of failings in care or miscommunication between medical professionals.

“Patient safety must always be the number one priority at all times.”
Guy Forster, Partner

If you've experienced negligent treatment due to rushed or over-worked GPs you might be entitled to compensation. Visit our GP Negligence Claims page for more information.