February 20, 2023
The vast majority of patients receive excellent care from their GP or Hospital, whether that be via the NHS or privately. However, occasionally the care provided does fall below a reasonable standard and if you feel this has been the case, you may consider making a claim for medical negligence.
Although you do not have a make a formal complaint before contacting a Solicitor about making a medical negligence claim, it can be useful.
You can make a complaint using the complaints procedure for the hospital or GP surgery where you were treated. This often involves putting your complaint in writing to allow the provider to investigate and respond to you. Complaints should always be made as soon as possible, and normally within 12 months.
Making a complaint can provide you with useful information and may answer any questions you had about your treatment, or why a decision was made. The outcome of such a complaint can help you make a more informed decision about whether to make a medical negligence claim and may also assist your Solicitor to assess your case.
If you are not satisfied with the response you receive, you have the option to make a complaint to the Health Service Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is independent, free, and impartial. They will investigate your complaint if you have already complained to the health provider, but they couldn’t solve your issue, or if they have failed to respond to your complaint. The Ombudsman will not however investigate a complaint if you have already started a Court action.
The response to your complaint may explain why something occurred, and if the provider agrees that the care did fall short, you may receive an apology.
To make a claim for medical negligence, you must show that there was:
The legal test often used in medical negligence is the Bolam Test – if a doctor or care provider can show that a competent body of similar medical professionals would have acted in the same way, they are not guilty of negligence.
Often, even where there has been a breach of duty, no harm or damage has been caused and therefore no claim can be made. You must be able to show that the breach of duty has caused you harm or damage. For example, this may be needing surgery, suffering additional pain, or side effects from medication.
A claim for medical negligence should normally be brought within 3 years of the event, or from your date of knowledge if this is later. If the claim is for a person under the age of 18, the 3 years runs from their 18th birthday.
It is important to seek specialist legal advice as soon as possible so that investigations can be made well before this 3-year period expires.
Contact the medical negligence team at Spencers Solicitors for a free, friendly and no obligation chat about your potential claim.
Posted in: Personal Injury