Complaints about out of hours GP care have risen by more than 50 per cent, latest figures have shown.
A total of 517 complaints about the quality of care were made in 2007-08, rising significantly from 337 in 2005-06, while compensation claims jumped from 41 to 73, according to the Medical Defence Union.
Of these, 120 complaints and 52 claims in 2007-08 were allegations of delay or failure to recognise a condition, such as heart attack, meningitis, pneumonia or septicaemia.
A further 75 complaints and 17 claims related to a patient’s death, and 71 instances complained that a GP has been rude, off-hand or uncaring.
Nineteen people had issues with telephone assessments, and 28 complained their doctor did not make a home visit.
One complainant said a GP prescribed abdominal pain medication for an unseen patient, who later developed appendicitis.
Dr Stephen Green, Medical Defence Union head of risk management, said: “We are advising out of hours doctors to pay particular attention to the need for clear, unambiguous communication with patients and colleagues, including accurate and comprehensive note-taking and arranging follow-up if necessary.”