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Doctors advise against Jeremy Hunt’s “self diagnosis” suggestion

In frankly astonishing news this week the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP, has called for parents to compare their child’s rash with pictures on the internet to decide if it needs medical attention or not.

Jeremy Hunt’s comments have been answered by a strong call from doctors to ignore his advice, pointing out that in particular diagnosing which rashes need life saving treatment and which will go away on their own is challenging enough for trained doctors when they have the patient in front of them and impossible based on photographs alone. The advice for parents from numerous doctors was if you are in any doubt, let a doctor see your child and let them decide.

One option is to call 111 for advice. However, as this service is under growing strain and suffering staff shortages, is this actually any better than using “Dr Google”. 111 phone lines are staffed by non-medically qualified staff who rely on running through scripts to identify those patients who need further assistance and those who can safely stay at home. The idea is to ease pressure from A&E services. Reports from within 111 services admit that it is often difficult to escalate a call to a medically qualified advisor leaving the untrained staff member to make the decision on how to advise the caller.

Unfortunately as the parents of 1 year old William Mead found out, the scripts are far from perfect and are not a replacement for the years of medical training that both doctors and nurses undertake before they make diagnostic decisions. In the case of William Mead, those failings contributed to his unfortunate death as the untrained staff relying on scripts failed to identify that he had life threatening sepsis.

If you have suffered as a result of 111 staff giving false reassurance and delaying the correct diagnosis and treatment, you may well have grounds for a claim.

Linder Myers Solicitors has one of the largest and most experienced teams of specialist clinical and medical negligence lawyers in England and Wales, who are readily able to listen and discuss incidents of negligence involving a doctor, healthcare professional or hospital staff member.

The team has dedicated solicitors who specifically deal with varying types of medical or clinical negligence. They have helped numerous clients to claim compensation and understand the type of concerns you or a family member may have after receiving negligent care or having experienced a delay in the provision of treatment.

Linder Myers solicitors can advise on making a formal complaint, assist with representation and provide guidance on how to pursue a medical / clinical negligence legal claim.

For an informal and free discussion please contact a member of the medical negligence team on 0800 085 3295. Alternatively, please email a summary of your potential claim and contact details to clinnegenquiries@lindermyers.co.uk.

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