'Caring and charismatic' law student dies after being denied face-to-face GP appointment

18 October 2021, 16:53 | Updated: 19 October 2021, 11:33

Parents of Leeds law student claim GP phone consultations cost him his life
Parents of Leeds law student claim GP phone consultations cost him his life. Picture: Alamy Stock Photo

By Megan Hinton

The parents of a law student who died from meningitis believe he would still be alive today if he had been able to see a GP face-to-face.

David Nash, 26, had four remote consultations with doctors and nurses over a 19-day period before he died on November 4, 2020.

His family now say medical professionals at Burley Park Medical Centre in Leeds, West Yorkshire, failed to spot the symptoms of mastoiditis.

According to the NHS website, the most people who develop mastoiditis "recover quickly" and have "no complications" as long as the condition is diagnosed and treated quickly.

But after being untreated, the mastoiditis caused a brain abscess which then led to David developing Meningitis, his family have said.

After five "shambolic" calls to NHS 111 David was eventually taken to St James's Hospital, in Leeds, by ambulance where he later fell causing a head injury. The Leeds University Law undergraduate, died two days later.

David’s grief-stricken parents, have now spoken out after they believe their son’s life could have been saved if he had been able to see a GP face-to-face.
Speaking about his son, Andrew Nash said: “My concern is he died from a condition that is rare and it’s deemed rare because it’s so treatable.The mastoiditis, with modern antibiotics, is readily treatable and should never have been left to get to the stage where it cause the complication of a brain abscess.”

Andrew believes that not seeing David face-to-face was the “primary reason” that the doctors failed to diagnose the condition.

Continuing: "In September 2020, NHS England did write to all the GP's reiterating the need for them to provide face-to-face appointments when clinically appropriate because there was evidence to suggest there were some GPs who just weren't seeing their patients.

“I can’t help but feel that there was this mentality just not to see the patients. So it’s quite frustrating to read these publications and think why didn’t they do that. Had they done that David would be here."

David’s mother Anne Nash added that the public “fear" face-to-face appointments will never return at doctors surgeries. 

The family are now paying thousands for an independent neurosurgeon to investigate the circumstances around David’s death ahead of the inquest on November 30. 

Paying tribute to his son, Andrew said: "David was caring, charismatic and funny, managing to find humour in almost everything, however mundane. He was 6ft 7in tall so when he walked into the room you noticed him."