By SOPHIE BORLAND, 21st October 2011: Doctors are insulting seriously ill patients who are regularly taken to hospital by describing them as 'frequent flyers', a leading GP said yesterday.
Clare Gerada said the term was degrading as it referred to 'people who are sick and need our care and attention'.
The phrase is widely used by NHS staff out of patients' earshot to describe anyone who is admitted frequently to a hospital A&E unit.
Many of those labelled as 'frequent flyers' are elderly or have serious illnesses such as asthma, heart problems or diabetes.
Dr Gerada, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said doctors must never forget 'the simple act of caring' for their patients.
In a speech to 1,500 family doctors at the RCGP’s annual conference in Liverpool, she urged them not to lose sight of the patient as a person.