A GP or a nurse at your local practice is trained to diagnose a variety of disorders but you may have to be referred to a specialist on occasion for a more detailed examination. Perhaps you have worries about a recurring lump or you have experienced changes to a mole. In these cases, your GP will likely refer you to a dermatologist who will be able to give a more thorough examination. Similarly, eye disorders will be referred to an optician or an ophthalmologist and patients with suspected musculoskeletal disorders will be referred to an orthopaedic specialist. When you receive an appointment, there may be a waiting list which means you may wait a few months before seeing your specialist. However, if you suspect that there is something seriously wrong and your GP fails to refer you straight away, then your illness could progress. If your GP fails to send you to a specialist and tries to diagnose you, there could be consequences to your health.
How can failure to refer to a specialist affect my health?
Anyone who has concerns for their health has the right to see a specialist and your GP will be aware that they do have the equipment or expertise to diagnose everything. However, if your GP fails to send you for a more thorough examination, then you could be adversely affected. A lump which appears benign should be looked at by a specialist to rule out the possibility of cancerous tissue. If you suspect a bone is broken or fractured and are experiencing pain, you have a right to be sent for an x-ray and for treatment by an orthopaedic surgeon should the need arise. Your GP is an expert but a specialist has the tools and equipment to examine you more thoroughly. Failure to send you could result in an illness progressing, wrong treatment or failure to treat an illness at all. If so, you have the right to compensation where there is evidence of negligence.
How to start your claim
Failure to refer to a specialist is just one example of potential medical negligence. Accident Advice Helpline helps victims of medical negligence to claim compensation from the party at fault on a no win, no fee* basis. Our free helpline is available 24 hours a day or you can begin your claim by taking our online 30-second test. Either method will give you an idea of how successful your claim is likely to be and you can then decide whether you want to pursue your right to compensation if you become ill or are injured because of clinical negligence.