Dr Kathryn Leask outlines steps GPs can take to try and avoid patients coming to harm as a result of delayed referrals and provides advice on dealing with patient complaints on this issue.
There are some steps GPs can take to try to avoid patients coming to harm while putting themselves in the best position to address the potential medico-legal ramifications.
In their guidance on Delegation and referral the GMC says that you are not accountable for the actions or omissions of colleagues to whom you make referrals. However, you are accountable for your decisions to transfer care and the steps you have taken to make sure that patient safety is not compromised.
If you are aware that there are delays for a particular service and your patient is likely to be affected by this, you should make this clear to them and manage their expectations from the outset.
In this GP Online article, Kathryn gives practical tips for GPs and shares a case example.