Delays in referring patients for further tests or specialist opinion can lead to delayed diagnosis and potential patient harm.

Significant patient harm can occur due to a delay in diagnosis of a condition leading to a poorer than necessary prognosis or clinical outcome.

The risk team have identified the following key tools from our resources to help you work through this common area of risk:

  • Video presentation: Failure to refer. MDDUS case files show that diagnosis and investigation of presenting symptoms and conditions to GPs account for more than two-thirds of all primary sector claims. Of these, the biggest single cause of loss involves delays or failures in organising appropriate tests, or referring the patient for a second opinion or specialist input. This 15-minute video explores some of the pitfalls and risks associated with delayed referrals, and offers some practical medico-legal advice for practitioners.
  • Checklist: Referring patients. This practical checklist will help GPs and practice managers open up wider discussion within the practice team. Use it to review your current referral process and ensure it is as effective and safe as possible.
  • Webinar: Avoiding missed or delayed diagnosis

This page was correct at the time of publication. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

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