Intended for healthcare professionals


General practitioners' experiences of patients' complaints

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 25 September 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:852

In-house mediation can help in reducing general practitioners' stress

  1. Peter Thomson, general practitioner
  1. Greyswood Practice, London SW16 6NT
  2. Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 9BB

    EDITOR—I work as a principal in general practice, with part of my list in Lambeth, and was summoned to a service hearing by Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham Health Authority before 1996. I was therefore particularly interested in Jain and Ogden's article about general practitioners' experiences of complaints.1

    Although I appreciate the impartiality shown by the health authority, I would question whether its facilitator function is helpful. In my experience the authority's role largely entailed gathering non-critical information; it failed to analyse the quality of the information collected. My summons to a service hearing seemed to be determined more by the acrimony of the complainant than by the case itself. The health authority seemed unable or unwilling to come to a decision itself about the merits of the allegations, and from an early stage it seemed to concentrate on assimilating both sides of the case with a view to …

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