DAUK's Dr Ellen Welch and Dr Katie Sanderson write in the BMJ. For months now, it has been the norm in primary care to speak with patients calling to discuss…
A survey of 750 doctors by lobby group Doctors Association UK (DAUK) revealed “hundreds” of doctors could not access tests. Three quarters who needed tests were not able to get them, which DAUK president Samantha Batt-Rawden called a “disgrace.”
It cited examples of a Gloucester GP who had to self-isolate for 6 days before a slot was available nearly 200 miles away in Norwich. Another doctor spoke of the only option being “an appointment in 90 minutes. It is a 419 mile journey to get there and takes seven hours.”
Rinesh Parmar, chair of the Doctors Association UK, told the chief coroner in a letter, “The guidance you have issued appears to be contrary to the legal requirements imposed on coroners by statute.”
He added, “We are extremely concerned by your suggestion that coronavirus deaths of healthcare workers will not usually require investigation. We believe that it may deny grieving families the answers to which they are entitled.
“Unless inquests are opened in each case, vital evidence in relation to that individual case will not be preserved and the opportunity to find out what went wrong will be lost irretrievably. We invite you to review your guidance and to amend it to ensure that it properly reflects the legal position and that these bereaved families receive access to the investigative procedures to which they are entitled.”
In an article in the BMJ, David Oliver examines the issue raised by DAUK of medics being told not to speak out about concerns on social media or mainstream media. “Threatening, disciplining, demoralising, or suspending the very staff we need most to get us through the next few months is a spectacular own goal and reputationally disastrous. It must stop”.