Misdiagnosis is nothing new in the medical profession, but if one in six patients on the NHS are suffering because of it, then there is something seriously wrong, according to Misdiagnosis, a BBC radio program that was telecast yesterday.
Although most cases of misdiagnosis do not suffer health-wise, a significant number of patients do face concerns due to wrong diagnosis. The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA), which runs a database of medical errors and near misses revealed that there were 39,500 reports of incidents between April 2008 and March 2009.
Patient charity Action Against Medical Accidents (AAMA) has called on doctors to report misdiagnosis voluntarily. "We see no reason why it shouldn't be a legal requirement on healthcare organisations, including general practices, to report incidents that go wrong in healthcare, including incidents of misdiagnosis," said AAMA chief executive Peter Walsh.
In a review that appeared recently in the American Journal of Medicine, the authors suggested that almost 15% of all cases are misdiagnosed in developed countries.