The sceptic's guide to diagnosis
Sunday 29 August 1993
HUNDREDS of patients have rung a helpline set up in the wake of the Birmingham cancer misdiagnoses.
Callers are being advised to discuss their worries with their GPs. Surveys have frequently shown that doctors are among the most trusted of public servants. But as the Birmingham case shows, they can make mistakes.
What should patients do if they are worried about the accuracy of a diagnosis? We asked doctors, patients' groups and Community Health Councils for their advice.
1. Ask to see your medical files. Pin-point where you are in terms of treatment and what has been discovered.
The Access to Medical Records Act 1991 allows patients only to see files written after 1 November 1991. Information written before that date can be seen only if the details have been logged into a computer. Doctors have the right to withhold sections of your records without telling you if the information might be 'medically damaging'.
2. Ask your GP for a second opinion. If you are still concerned, ask your GP to speak to the doctor who made the diagnosis.
3. Go to your local Community Health Council if your GP is not supportive. Officers will also advise you on how to get copies of your records from the hospital.
4. If you are still not satisfied, go to the Director of Public Health for your region and invoke the clinical complaints procedure. Two independent consultants will be brought in to look at the medical records and meet you. Patients are not entitled to see an unedited version of their report.
5. As a last resort write to Action for Victims of Medical Accidents for the name of a lawyer experienced in medical negligence litigation. Once proceedings start, you are entitled to full access to all medical records.
World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas
Rumours that the star wants to move on to pastures new
TV presenter Fiona Bruce seemed a bit startled by the find during the filming of Antiques Roadshow
Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'
- 1 Sick elderly man makes 'complete turnaround' after emotional reunion with dog
- 2 Star Wars memorabilia dubbed 'bit of plastic' by Antiques Roadshow's Fiona Bruce valued at £50,000
- 3 Isis fighters 'crucify' 17-year-old boy in Syria
- 4 Ebola cruise ship ‘in utter panic’ as Mexico and Belize refuse to let it dock
- 5 Death of northern white rhino leaves just six of endangered animals left in the world
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Sorry Judy Finnigan – Ched Evans is no less sickening than an alleyway rapist
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Workers 'could be forced to pay £5 a week' to get benefits
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
£60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Permanent Year 6 TeacherThe job:This...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: KS1+KS2 Teachers required ASAP for l...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Year 2 Teacher The position is to wo...