"Failure to Attend query 'Duty of Care'"
About: North Yorkshire and York PCT / Emergency GP out of hours service North Yorkshire and York PCT Emergency GP out of hours service
Posted by Concerned NHS worker (as ),
My son rang me in a distressed state with regard to his sister in law and her mental well being at the end of December.Because of her behaviour he had already contacted the police via the 999 system and they were initially tasking it as 'domestic'. His sister in law was already receiving counselling with regard to mental illness and her behaviour. She was in a aggitated and disturbed state and about to walk out of the family house with her under 18 year old son. I contacted the out of hours G.P. service on his behalf, as I am a paramedic with 31 years NHS ambulance service. Because I was a third party caller the system fell apart, in fact the call taker could be heard to say I don't know what to do. I was then passed to a more experience call taker and explained the situation. I then received a call from the on call G.P. I explained the situation to him and that the police were in attendance. I expressed my concern that they were not clinicians and would not necessarily evaluate the situation from a medical diagnosis. He appeared reluctant to attend stating that he was not qualified in psychiatry. I explained that the police could only deal with her mental state if she stepped out into a public place, but their actions would depend on their previous experience or training. The G.P. then took my son's number with a view to contacting him for an on the spot situation report. Also he intended to contact the police and get their view on the situation. Again I would suggest they are not clinicians and their view would not necessarily be medically valid. In my opinion the G.P. was required on scene in order to assess the situation and if necessary authorise a psychiatric social worker or doctor to attend for assessment. To my knowledge the G.P. never contacted my son or attended the situation. If this women then harms herself, or her son or another family member, then surly the G.P. would be failing in his duty of care by failing to attend when requested by a service user?