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Many of us naturally think of doctors as highly trained professionals who have our best interests at heart – and in the majority of cases, they are. However, recent high-profile cases of medical negligence have led to large parts of the UK facing a huge increase in pay-outs to victims of healthcare malpractice.
Choice of a lifetime
So when it comes to the overall wellbeing of your family there’s nothing more important than the health of your loved ones. Choosing the right health professional to look after your nearest and dearest is paramount when it comes to lifestyle choices.
How to choose
There are several factors to consider:
1. How close is the GP?
While you don’t need to register with your nearest GP it makes sense to register with one that is at least easy to access. Make sure your doctor is within a 10 minute drive if possible.
2. What do other patients think?
With the rise of the internet there are now many forums available to visit that provide lots of information through patient experience. Though you should take individual patient reviews with a pinch of salt, you’ll be able to use a few reviews to build up a picture of the practice you are thinking of joining.
3. Check out their credentials
If you want the best doctor then you’ll be looking for one with the best education possible, so find out which medical school they graduated from; a doctor with great credentials will naturally publicise them to attract patients. However, there’s no need play detective – simply ask them directly. Alternatively you can contact the list of Registered Medical Practitioners, which is available at the General Medical Council website.
4. What is the GP’s track record?
The General Medical Council is allowed to provide patients with publically available ‘fitness to practice’ history from October 2005. This means that where a doctor has been taken to a fitness to practice panel after concerns about their professional standards, the decisions are recorded publically available. Co-op Medical Negligence professionals will be able to help you access this service as well as other legal needs you may have.
5. Which hospital do they refer to?
One day you or a family member may need to be referred to a hospital for specialist care. This means it’s not enough just to know that your doctor is one of the best – you need to know the hospital services he or she refers you to will deliver equally outstanding healthcare, as well.
However, if anything does go wrong, it’s going to be a source of comfort and to know that Co-operative Legal Services are available to give you the best possible advice on how to proceed.