NHS and GP Negligence

Have you received poor medical care in an NHS hospital or surgery? Our medical negligence solicitors can help you . . .

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What is medical negligence?

Medical negligence is when you are injured or left with a worsening health condition after receiving poor or substandard medical care. Medical negligence – also known as clinical negligence – is a rare occurrence. But when it happens to you, the effects can be devastating.

Although most healthcare patients will be treated effectively, a small minority end up suffering from clinical negligence. This is when a medical professional makes an avoidable mistake, causing you harm in the form of an injury or illness or a worsening medical condition.

NHS medical negligence claims

The NHS provides a quality service to most of the people it treats. But sometimes things can go wrong.

Experiencing NHS medical negligence is rare – but it happens. And when it does, you need someone on your side to help you get the care and treatment you really need.

First4Lawyers and our expert medical negligence solicitors can ensure you get the best legal help. We’re here to give you access to justice so you can claim the NHS compensation you are entitled to.

On this page . . .

Can I make an NHS negligence claim?

Everyone should feel safe when being treated by the NHS. So we understand just how distressing – and even traumatic – it can be to suffer negligence while you’re under the care of your GP or other NHS service.

You could make a claim if the medical professional treating you made an avoidable mistake or their treatment was substandard.

Examples of NHS negligence include:

  • Misdiagnosis
    This is where a patient’s illness is either mistaken for something else or missed entirely by GPs and other medical professionals. Misdiagnosis can be avoided, which makes it even more upsetting to deal with when it happens.
  • A&E negligence
    This occurs when someone is sent to an A&E department and not given the correct treatment right away – such as being discharged too early.
  • Failure to refer to a specialist
    GPs must refer you to a specialist doctor at a hospital if you have a serious illness – not doing so could be harmful to your health.
  • Pharmacy errors
    When an NHS pharmacist prescribes you the incorrect medication, or a dosage that’s too high or too low, that could be NHS negligence.

You could also make a claim if your loved one lost their life as a result of fatal negligence by the NHS.

Making a successful claim against the NHS

Successful claims against the NHS rely on proving two things: breach of duty of care and causation.

  • Breach of duty of care
    This is when the medical professional acted in a way that fell short of acceptable standards. It takes into account whether the actions taken by the person responsible would be supported by a “responsible body” of healthcare professionals. In other words, they breached their duty of care to you as a patient.
  • Causation
    You need to be able to prove that your injury or illness was caused by the medical professional’s failure to meet the accepted standards. This means that if there is a chance you would have suffered harm if the person responsible had acted differently, your claim against the NHS will probably not be successful.

Should I make a complaint to the NHS trust?

If you were hurt by a medical professional working for the NHS, you may want to complain to that trust. It can help you feel like you’ve done all you can to make things right – as well as stopping it happening to anyone else.

A complaint can help you get the apology you may be looking for, or simply the acknowledgement that the NHS malpractice you suffered should not have happened. We’ve put together a straightforward guide to writing a letter of complaint to the NHS.

You can complain in person, by phone, in writing or by email. You can do this to either the NHS service provider that was negligent or to the commissioner of the services. This is the body that pays for the NHS services you used.

You can complain to NHS England about GPs, dentists, opticians or pharmacists. If you’re complaining about NHS malpractice from a hospital, mental health service, NHS 111 or community services like district nurses, you can contact your local clinical commissioning group.

As part of your claim, your solicitor could help you make a complaint. They are there to help you get the best outcome, so you can rely on their help.

Will the NHS still treat me after making a claim?

We understand that you might feel nervous about making a claim. We know that you may worry about the treatment you’ll then receive. But it may be reassuring to know that you won’t be blacklisted or face any negative consequences for claiming.

You can still receive treatment from the same service that you’re claiming against, if that’s what you want.

Alternatively, you might find it more suitable to find a different healthcare provider.

You have the right to medical treatment. And you have the right to proper care. That’s why it’s legally possible to make a claim if you have been harmed by someone in the NHS.

Who pays compensation for successful claims against the NHS?

Claims for negligence by the NHS don’t take money out of the NHS budget. This isn’t something you need to worry about.

NHS Resolution handles claims and has its own separate budget. That means that your NHS claim won’t have an impact on anyone else’s treatment.

The organisation also supports NHS services to learn from the claims that have been made against them.

Why should I make an NHS compensation claim?

We know that you’re probably more interested in getting justice for the avoidable negligence you suffered than getting compensation.

But the law states that if you have been hurt in an avoidable incident – including a medical accident – you are entitled to compensation for what you’ve been through.

This can be a huge help during your recovery process or to help make you more comfortable. It can also help to relieve any financial worries you may have.

By making a claim, you can also help to highlight what went wrong in your treatment. This could force the NHS service responsible to investigate and address its failures, which could then stop the same thing happening to someone else.

How can I pay for my negligence claim against the NHS?

In most cases in England and Wales, our specialist solicitors will take on your claim on a No Win No Fee basis.

A No Win No Fee NHS medical negligence claim means that there’s nothing to pay upfront. That gives you the times to focus on your recovery instead of worrying about how to pay for your claim.

There is also nothing to pay if your claim is unsuccessful. A No Win No Fee claim is a risk-free way of claiming the compensation that you’re entitled to for the NHS negligence you experienced.

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. Changing laws mean our solicitors will now take a payment of 30% of the final compensation amount plus VAT for all road traffic accident claims.

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

How long do I have to make an NHS medical negligence claim?

You’ll usually have three years to make an NHS compensation claim. But just because you have that long, it doesn’t mean you should delay making a claim. It’s always a good idea to start your claim as soon as you can.

That’s because it can be easier to remember the details of what happened to you. It could also be easier to get hold of certain pieces of evidence.

But not every claimant will have to submit their claim within three years. For example, if you’re claiming on behalf of a child, you’ll be able to do so until they turn 18. From that date, they will then have three years to make a claim themselves.

And if you’re claiming on behalf of someone who lacks the capacity to claim themselves, you won’t have a deadline.

It’s not always clear straight away that medical negligence took place. It can take months or even years to establish that it was responsible for your condition getting worse or a new illness developing.

When this happens, you will have three years from the date you found out that you were the victim of medical negligence to make a claim. This allows everyone a chance to get justice.

How much compensation will I get for NHS negligence?

Every claim is different. And medical negligence can cause complex injuries and illnesses. That makes it difficult to say exactly what you might receive in compensation without a chat about your situation.

For a rough idea of what you could be entitled to for the harm you’ve suffered, try our compensation calculator.

But don’t forget that you are also entitled to compensation for any financial impact the negligence has had. This could include the cost of any treatment you’ve had to pay for, as well as any mobility aids or home modifications you now need.

It can also cover a loss of earnings if your injury or illness meant you weren’t able to go to work.

To talk to the team at First4Lawyers about making an NHS negligence claim, just get in touch. you can give us a call, request a call back when it’s convenient or start your claim online.

Medical Negligence FAQs

Can I get an early payout?

It may be possible for you to receive an early compensation payout, known as an interim payment.

When this happens, you will receive part of your compensation before your medical negligence claim is fully settled. You can use these funds to ensure you receive the care you need to help aid your recovery.

Your solicitor will be able to talk you through interim payments and arrange one for you if necessary.

Will I need a medical exam?

In most cases of clinical negligence, you will need a medical exam. Your lawyer will let you know whether this is necessary in your case.

Your solicitor will arrange for you to be assessed by a medical expert. They will assess how severe your injury or illness is and what impact it has on your daily life – both now and in the future.

The assessment will form part of your evidence. It may also be necessary to access your medical history to form part of the evidence in your claim. This will show how your health has been affected by your experience of clinical negligence.

Can I claim on behalf of someone else?

Yes, it is possible for you to claim on behalf of someone else.

In most cases, this will be on behalf of a child or someone who lacks the ability to claim for themselves.

You could face different time limits for making a claim on behalf of someone else, so give us a call to find out more.

Can I make a claim after three years?

Most people who have experienced medical negligence will have three years to begin a claim. This means that you should start your claim as soon as possible.

Starting a claim after the three-year deadline has passed is typically not possible. But there are exceptions.

For example, if you only discovered after the deadline has passed that your injury was caused by medical negligence, you would have three years from the date you found out to make a claim. This is known as the date of knowledge.

If you’re not sure whether you could still make a claim, just get in touch and our friendly advisors will talk you through your options.

Should I complain to the hospital or NHS trust?

After an experience of medical negligence, you can complain to the organisation responsible. It isn’t the same as making a claim, but it can highlight the problem to the hospital or trust and allow them to address it.

To write a letter of complaint, make sure you have a record of the details of your experience. Inform the healthcare provider what you are complaining about, the facts around what happened and copies of any evidence.

Your complaint can also form part of your evidence.

How does No Win No Fee work?

In England and Wales, you could make a No Win No Fee medical negligence claim. This means that you won’t have to pay any fees upfront, letting you focus on your recovery rather than funding legal action.

You will also have nothing to pay if your claim is not successful, so you don’t face any financial risk by pursuing a claim.

If you are awarded compensation, you will pay your lawyers a success fee. This will typically be 25% of your total compensation amount, but it will never be more. Your solicitor will make sure you are informed of all the details surrounding fees at the beginning of the process, so there won’t be any surprises.

Will my treatment be affected if I make a claim?

Making a claim does not affect your right to medical treatment. You are entitled to proper care.

If you suspect that you are not receiving the appropriate level of care, we can advise you on your rights. You may prefer to be treated at a different hospital or by a different doctor. We can help you get the right treatment for you.

Can you help me get the treatment I need?

When you make a medical negligence claim, you may require further treatment to get you back to the position you were in before your experience of negligence happened.

Your solicitor could help you by arranging certain treatments for you. This could include physiotherapy, dental work or other forms of healthcare to help you recover.

To find out more, just get in touch.


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