How to Sue the NHS

Our NHS generally does a wonderful job of helping us through our medical problems. However, there are occasions where things don’t go according to plan and someone gets hurt.

Mistakes do happen in life, but safeguards exist to prevent the sort of incidents that can be considered medical negligence. However, when these safeguards fail and you end up suffering from further health problems due to the fault of a medical professional, you might end up thinking about how to sue the NHS.

After you or a loved one has suffered from medical negligence – from a misdiagnosis to fatal negligence – you might feel alone and worried about the future. But there is help available.

We’ve put together this guide to help you through the process of making a medical negligence claim against the NHS.

Know your rights

Medical negligence can cause you a huge amount of pain, stress and frustration. You’re likely to wonder why it had to affect you and what you can do to get back to your previous position. You’re entitled to proper care from the NHS. You don’t expect to have to deal with a never event – the sort of incident that should never happen.

The NHS defines a never event as “serious incidents that are entirely preventable because guidance or safety recommendations providing strong systemic protective barriers are available at a national level, and should have been implemented by all healthcare providers”.

When you’ve experienced such an incident, you have the right to pursue justice. And that means you can sue the NHS.

Collect your evidence

If your life has been affected by your experience of medical negligence, you may want to pursue a claim for compensation – particularly if you’ve had to spend money on treating what went wrong.

When suing the NHS, the first thing to do is to compile your evidence. With a medical claim, you need to be able to prove that the negligent act caused you harm, rather than the NHS proving that you were not harmed as a result of its treatment.

Collect all your medical records together, as well as any other relevant information. Ensure you note down dates and times of treatment and the names of anyone involved.

Complain to the NHS

Although a letter of complaint will not result in any compensation being awarded to you, sending one to the NHS may help form part of your case against it. See our guide for advice on how to write a letter of complaint about NHS treatment or services.

In 2018-19, there were a total of 208,924 written complaints to the NHS. This shows that you are not the only one who has been unhappy with elements of its service.

When writing your letter of complaint, it’s best to avoid emotional language and to keep the content focused on the facts of your case. Avoid making any claims you can’t back up with proof.

Find a solicitor

When you want to sue the NHS, you’ll need the best legal help you can find. When the burden of proof is on you, rather than on the NHS, you need to make sure you are working with the most qualified and experienced solicitors in the industry.

First4Lawyers can help by putting you in touch with specialist medical negligence solicitors. They will then take control of your claim, helping you put your case together.

Depending on your situation, you may be able to make a claim on a no win no fee basis. Also known as a conditional fee agreement, this allows you to go ahead with a claim without having to pay anything upfront. It means that regardless of your financial situation, you’ll be able to pursue the justice that you’re entitled to.

Only pay a fee if you receive compensation

Our No Win No Fee solicitors will take a success fee from the compensation you are awarded for a successful claim in the form of a percentage of your damages. This could be up to 25% but it won't be more than that, except in cases of road traffic accidents and housing disrepair. Changing laws mean our solicitors will now take a payment of 35% of the final compensation amount plus VAT for all road traffic accident and housing disrepair claims.

First4Lawyers are an award-winning claims management company with a track record of delivering service that our clients love.

Pursue a settlement

Your solicitor will work with you to put together a letter of claim. This will outline your case and provide details to the NHS about what went wrong in your situation. It will also include how much compensation you should be awarded.

The NHS will then either accept liability – meaning your solicitor will then negotiate the outcome of the claim – or reject it, leading your solicitor to review your evidence and come back to you to discuss your claim.

It’s important to be honest and upfront with your solicitor from the start. This will help prevent any surprises further down the line and will help maintain solid communication channels.

Suing the NHS

When you want to sue the NHS for poor treatment, the process doesn’t have to be complicated. However, it’s important to recognise that a medical negligence claim against the NHS can be a long and stressful process.

That’s why it’s so important to work with the right solicitor for your unique situation.


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