Out-of-hours complaints up

Communication failures after responsibility for out-of-hours care was passed to primary care organisations are behind a threefold rise in serious complaints over five years, according to the Medical Defence Union (MDU).

The MDU and Medical Protection Society reported 300 cases in 2006 compared with 102 in 2002. The 2004 new GMS contract enabled practices to drop out-of-hours responsibility.

But the number of compensation claims for negligence is falling. In 2006, 18 of the 182 patients who made complaints about out-of-hours services involving MDU members called for compensation, compared with 23 in 2005.

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