Backup for NSW GPs?

If a patient has been seeing a GP for more than 6 years, a GP who’s been a doctor for more than 35 years and who comes over as conscientious, competent and hard working, BUT the GP refers the patient to a specialist who turns out to be amongst the very worst doctors they’ve ever encountered, who, amongst other things, does the patient irreversible harm that is going to last for the rest of their life, doesn’t this have very concerning implications for the whole GP system in New South Wales?

How does this come about?

Aren’t GPs supposed to be the “primary health care” people, the “gateway” to the whole health care system? Aren’t they supposed, above all, to know who may best be able to provide further health care that the GP can’t provide? Does this mean that this whole so-called “system” is a joke?

It raises the question of how GPs are supposed to gather information as to who may best be able to provide health care that the GPs can’t provide. Is there any backup for them, or are they supposed to just “pick up” this information as individuals?

Two of our readers experiences may give us clues.

One was talking to a quite senior GP who was supposed to be a bit of a specialist in mental health problems, and when he was asked how many psychiatrists he knew of who he could refer patients to, the GPs response was “Five.” You would think that, after all his years in practice, there would be more than five good psychiatrists he would know about and could refer patients to.

Another says that he recently started seeing a reasonably young female female doctor who had only recently moved into the area, and when he happened to mention the name of a good Urologist he’d been seeing, she said, “Oh, I must remember that name.” Not, “Oh, I can always look up to see who are the best urologists to refer my patients to,” but,  “Oh, I must remember that name.”

Does it mean that patients have to do their own research to see who the  best to see and tell their GPs. It would appear so.

Remember, for every bad specialist who’s still in business, there has to be a number of GPs referring them patients – otherwise they wouldn’t still be in business.

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