Ombudsman slams on call doctor system

29th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

29 June 2004 , AMSTERDAM − Patients who seek help from on call family doctors are often incorrectly diagnosed or are given incorrect advice, the Ombudsman Foundation said on Tuesday.

29 June 2004

AMSTERDAM − Patients who seek help from on call family doctors are often incorrectly diagnosed or are given incorrect advice, the Ombudsman Foundation said on Tuesday.

The foundation said out of 72 lodged complaints, 32 involved patient deaths. It is alleged that in 26 fatalities, a staff member of a huisartsenpost (an on call doctor's clinic) did not realise how serious the situation was.

It also said a total of 75 percent of the remaining 40 complaints were justified. Patients were left with permanent injuries or became seriously sick, Dutch public news service NOS reported.

About one third of the incorrect diagnoses were given by an assistant and the foundation has thus demanded that doctor retain the final responsibility.

A report from the Healthcare Inspectorate said in May that patients often have difficulty in contacting an on call doctor's clinic.

The inspectorate also said that patients needed to call several times before they were able to make contact with an on call doctor's clinic. In cases of emergencies, just one of out every 10 doctors managed see a patient within the standard 15 minute time frame.

Main opposition party Labour PvdA had reacted with shock to the report and Health Minister Hans Hoogervorst admitted that the availability of family doctors outside of office hours could be improved. He promised to discuss the matter with doctors.

But Hoogervorst had also said an improvement in availability of on call doctors did not need to cost extra money and he intends to investigate a better spread of on call clinics. Link-ups with hospitals will also be improved.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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