Negligence can be defined as behaviour or conduct that falls below a certain standard of care that would normally be used in a similar set of circumstances. When we are ill, we expect a certain standard of care to help us on the road to recovery, however in some cases, this is not what is received. Medical negligence claims (also referred to sometimes as clinical negligence claims) can occur against, not only doctors and surgeons, but other healthcare professionals including nurses, midwives, dentists, physiotherapists, psychologists and psychiatrists. And GP Negligence Compensation Claims are sadly some of the most common.
For most people their first port of call when feeling ill is to visit their GP. The vast majority of patients say they have confidence in their GPs , or general practitioners. However, the General Medical Council (GMC) receives more complaints about GPs than about any other branch of medicine. In total 42% of all complaints received between 2012 and 2016 were made about GPs, even though they only make up about 25% of doctors.
In addition, the Medical Defence Union (MDU), the organisation which is responsible for insuring over half of GPs in the UK, states that the number of medical negligence claims against GPs are rising. According to statistics they released in July 2023, both the number and costs of GP compensation claims rose in 2022/23.
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Of all areas of law, medical negligence is one of the most complex – so it is very important that you instruct specialists to help you win the compensation you deserve.
Our medical negligence team are specialists – medical negligence and personal injury claims are all they do and the team is headed by member of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel – a highly specialist panel only available to those who can prove their expertise in injury compensation claims.
The most common type of GP Negligence Compensation Claims
Complaints and negligence claim against general practitioners are varied in nature. They include making the wrong prescription, failing to get proper patient consent to treatment and breach of confidentiality issues. However, the majority of claims against GPs involve delayed or wrong diagnosis.
Misdiagnosis occurs when a condition goes completely undiagnosed, or where it is diagnosed incorrectly.
Both delayed diagnosis and misdiagnosis can lead to delayed or incorrect treatment for a condition, often with serious ramifications in cases, such as cancer, where time can be a critical factor in effective treatment.
Delay and misdiagnosis can be caused by failing to read reports, x-rays and test results, or reading them incorrectly – for example failing to spot a fracture.
Another area involving complaints against GPs is prescription errors. Statistics show that every year over 40,000 prescription or medication errors occur in the NHS, including those involving incorrect drug, dose or patient, patient allergies, or reaction between multiple medications.
Many of these errors may only have short term effects, however, some result in serious injury or even death, either through use of the wrong drug/dose or from delay of the required treatment.
GP prescription errors – they are a huge problem
Errors in prescription is another each area of medical negligence compensation claims against GPs.
Every year, reports show that over 40,000 prescription or medication errors take place in the NHS, among them those involving patient allergies, improper drug, dose or patient, or reaction between multiple medications.
Some of these errors will only have short term effects. Nonetheless, either through use of the wrong drug/dose or from delay of the requisite treatment, some errors conclude in significant injury or even death.
In fact, a 2018 study from the Universities of York, Manchester and Sheffield revealed that there are approximately 237 million (this is not a misprint) medication errors in the NHS in England alone each year.
And their research also reports that what are called “avoidable adverse drug reactions” (ADRs) cause hundreds of deaths annually. The researchers found that an estimated 712 deaths result from what is known as “”avoidable ADRs (adverse drug reactions). They also believe that these ADRs might be a contributory factor to between 1,700 and 22,303 deaths a year.
Uncomfortable about making a compensation claim against your GP?
Don’t be embarrassed about claiming compensation for a medical error.
Firstly, if you have been injured, you are entitled to compensation
Secondly making a medical negligence compensation claim provides a real incentive to change poor medical practice – trust us, GPs NHS managers really don’t like these claims being made – and we recognise that good managers and NHS Trusts often respond by changing procedures to ensure that such mistakes are not made again – making good clinical care even safer for other people in future.
GP Negligence Compensation Claims – don’t delay or risk losing your compensation
Too many people miss out on the compensation they deserve because they did not claim within the limited time available. There is almost always a three year time limit on these claims (from the date that the injury happened, or sometimes from the later date when you actually found out about negligent treatment). However, children do not have the three year time limit until they are 18 (but they must make the claim before they turn 21).
Don’t delay. Call our experts today to avoid making such a mistake.
Not only do time limits apply to bringing claims, but investigation of your claim is often much easier with early legal advice. Our team also recommend that you keep a diary of events about your injury and in particular make notes as soon as possible about how the injury was incurred.
Funding GP Negligence Compensation Claims with no win no fee
Almost all of our medical error cases are funded using No Win No Fee – this means you don’t have to worry about paying your legal costs and can concentrate on your recovery. These days legal aid funding is no longer available for medical negligence claims – with the exception of very limited number of birth injury cases.
As the name suggests, a solicitor acting under No Win No Fee will only be paid their fee if they win your case. Payment is made by the losing party or, more likely, their insurer. If the solicitor loses the case, they don’t get paid at all.
Click here to read more about “No Win No Fee Claims“, and how they could help you.
Real examples of negligent GP behaviour
There are many examples to be found of misdiagnosis and the consequences of that negligence. These range from cases where a GP failed to notice an abnormal blood test result which indicated diabetes, leading to development of a painful nerve condition known as peripheral neuropathy to the tragic case of a man whose test results indicating that what was believed to be a harmless wart was actually malignant melanoma, a very aggressive form of skin cancer, were filed by his GP with no further action taken. When this mistake was finally recognised five month later, the cancer had already spread to his lymph nodes and resulted in his death.
If you feel you have suffered injury through medical negligence, it is important to seek the support and guidance of a specialist medical solicitor who will be best able to advise further on the best way to move forward.
Click here to read more about how our medical negligence claim solicitors can help you