MAM press release - GPs not to blame for Casualty crisis - 16/11/2010

Press release 16th November 2010

Self‐referred patients causing major problems at Accident and Emergency

Following reports in the media regarding long waiting times at the Accident and Emergency department, MAM would like to categorically deny that this is due to inappropriate referrals by
General Practitioners.

Statistics show that more than half of attendances at Accident and Emergency are self referred meaning that they had not been seen by a family doctor. While this is understandable for major emergencies, it is this problem that results in unnecessary congestion and bottlenecks.

Every medical practitioner decides independently using his professional judgment. In the practice of Medicine sometimes even minor complaints need urgent referral to hospital. The
opposite may also apply; patients with subjectively major complaints sometimes do not need referral to hospital and can be safely managed in the community.

Every medical practitioner is taught from his early days of medical school, that if the situation is unclear, one should refer for further investigation rather than take unnecessary risks with patientsí health. While a number of these patients will inevitably not have medical problems, this does not mean that referral was not indicated.

MAM finds it completely unacceptable for one to put the blame of administrative problems at the Accident and Emergency department on family doctors, and invites the health
authorities to tackle this problem seriously without blaming doctors.

Dr. Martin Balzan MD FRCP(lond) FEFIM

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