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Lack of hospital beds caused by shortest GP consultations in Europe and lack of funding

Recent analysis has shown that 137 out of 152 hospital trusts have been suffering with overcrowding this winter, with many exceeding the 85% recommended capacity consistently from December through to February. It is believed that one reason for these issues is that short consultations mean patients do not receive the adequate care and consequently end up visiting the hospital with the same symptoms.

The average consultation with a GP in the UK lasts 10 minutes, which is thought to be the shortest in the developed world. These short consultations are suggested to be one of the causes of hospital overcrowding, as those who see a doctor about multiple issues often do not receive the adequate care and attention to all issues, and end up visiting the hospital for a more thorough check.

92% of consultations in the UK are completed in less than 15 minutes, compared to only 27% in other countries. The president of the Royal College of GPs, Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard, stated “"If we had longer, you could do so much more to reduce hospital admissions and repeat attendances."

Further to the short consultations, it appears as though the Better Care Fund has not worked as expected in its first year of implementation. The £5.3bn Better Care Fund was set up to provide more care in the community, aiming to help local authorities invest in services to keep patients out of hospital. Using the Fund, local authorities had estimated they could cut emergency hospital admissions by 106,000; instead, they went up by 87,000, compared to the previous year.

Overcrowding in hospitals can result in substandard care to patients, resulting in possible harm or further complications. Without an improvement to the levels of patients in hospital, and the care they can receive outside of hospital through GPs or the Better Care Fund, more patients could be mistreated during their time at a hospital.

Melanie Lidstone-Land and the clinical negligence team at Swain & Co Solicitors regularly win compensation for their clients who have experienced substandard treatment, a failure to provide treatment or failures to refer. If you, a family member or a friend have experienced problems regarding substandard medical treatment contact our team today on 023 92 483322.

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