Avoiding Errors in General Practiceby Kevin Barraclough, Jenny du Toit, Jeremy Budd, Joseph E. Raine, Kate Williams, Jonathan Bonser
Some of the most important and best lessons in a doctor’s career are learnt from mistakes. However, an awareness of the common causes of medical errors and developing positive behaviours can
reduce the risk of mistakes and litigation.
Written for Foundation Year doctors, trainees and general practitioners, and unlike any other clinical management title available, Avoiding Errors in General Practice identifies and explains the
most common errors likely to occur in an outpatient setting - so that you won’t make them.
The first section in this brand new guide discusses the causes of errors in general practice. The second and largest section consists of case scenarios and includes expert and legal comment as well
as clinical teaching points and strategies to help you engage in safer practice throughout your career. The final section discusses how to deal with complaints and the subsequent potential medico-
legal consequences, helping to reduce your anxiety when dealing with the consequences of an error. Invaluable during the Foundation Years, Specialty Training and for Consultants, Avoiding Errors in General Practice is the perfect guide to help tackle the professional and emotional challenges of
life as a GP.
From the Publisher
"This excellent 182-page book is designed for general practitioners in their early years. It will be a very useful source for all involved in teaching and mentoring those in general practice, and
should, I think, be compulsory reading for all practice managers. It is so packed with information, concepts and case studies written in decent English that I found it difficult to put down.
The first section gives a resume of the law concerning breach of medical duty, including the Bolam test. Causation, damages and time limits for litigation are discussed. Protocols, guidelines and
communications are considered followed by a heart felt appeal to learn from system failures. This is what I want practice managers to read.
The next section looks at how an initial diagnosis is reached, and then refined. Avoiding being misled by first impressions by testing against a differential diagnosis, excluding diagnoses that must
not be missed, considering non-fitting facts, and follow up review all help. Making arrangements to review the case if the illness does not follow the expected course can retrieve the situation, and
a record of this can save a reputation.
Communication is recognised as the core of safe practice. I like the simple concept “Ask yourself whether a colleague could work out from your notes the essential details of the consultation.”
Then follows the real meat of the book. This consists of forty recent clinical cases, each demonstrating a particular mishap. These forty cases bring up 95% of causes of complaints against general
practitioners. Each describes a case in a few well-chosen sentences, and asks the reader what they think, and might do next. For example, make a differential diagnosis, or perform further simple
examinations. An expert opinion is then given on what good practice would involve. This is followed by a legal opinion of the case, including the likely range of damages or settlement. Some of
the sums are unnerving! Each case takes up just two pages.
The book ends with the various enquiries and courts that may be faced, and practical advice on addressing them.
I sincerely hope that other practitioners and practice managers will find this little book as thought provoking as I have." (Daniel Haines, FRCGP, MFFLM.)