Hospital negligence compensation claims –Why is it important for my solicitor to be a specialist?
Commonly, hospital or other medical negligence compensation claim cases involve misdiagnosis, incorrect treatment of a condition, or a mistake during a medical procedure. Obviously, these can be difficult and sensitive issues to address, and your claim will have to be supported with detailed evidence such as your medical notes and records, and by expert evidence.
FREE initial phone advice, and a FREE first interview is available for all medical negligence claims – so call now on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 or locally on (01722) 422300
What is the difference between medical negligence and poor service or medical care?
Medical negligence should not be confused with poor professional conduct – medical negligence only applies when the lack of care has meant consequences for the patient such as loss or injury. Poor service or medical care which does not give rise to injury or financial loss can be dealt with through a formal complaint.
What is an NHS Complaint?
If you have been treated rudely, or unfairly, this could be resolved by submitting a complaint in writing to the healthcare professional or doctor who treated you. This could possibly end up in a relaxed interview where you can put your opinion forward and a resolution is hammered out. If your claim is more significant, or if no resolution is forthcoming, discussing your grievance with the Patient Advisory Liaison Services ought to be your next step.
Also, discuss your case with the NHS Trust involved and follow their established complaints system.
However, it can sometimes be hard to know whether you have a valid medical negligence claim or a complaint. This is why it’s important to seek specialist legal advice if you are unhappy with the care you have received on the NHS, as there can sometimes be a fine line between bad customer service and true negligence.
The NHS has a Constitution that gives patients the right to complain in various circumstances. These include:
• If staff have been rude to you or otherwise shown a lack of courtesy
• If you have received poor service, either from a hospital or GP
• If you have had to wait for longer than expected for treatment
• If you believe a member of staff poses a danger to the public
• If you have been refused treatment that you need
As you can see, this list includes situations that, while they may be distressing for affected patients, may not necessarily be a sign of negligence. This is why medical claims are often so complicated and need a specialist solicitor to handle them.
If the outcome of the NHS complaints procedure is not to your satisfaction, you could report the case to the Health Service Ombudsman, who will investigate your case, report the details back, and make recommendations.
Needless to say, if you were a private patient, then you can’t go through the NHS complaints procedure.
I was treated in a private hospital – can I still claim compensation for medical negligence?
In short, the answer is yes. Many people in the UK have private medical treatment. Sometimes this is out of choice in order to avoid the long waiting times on the NHS and in other cases, people are cared for privately because a private organisation provides part of their NHS treatment. Sadly, mistakes are made by private hospitals and clinics as well as in the NHS, often causing serious harm to patients.
There are, however, some differences between NHS and private clinical negligence claims – even though the claims process for both follows roughly the same pattern.
• Private doctors will often make contracts or guarantees to their patients promising a particular outcome. Where the outcome diverges from the initial promise patients may find that they can claim compensation
• Those who have travelled from abroad to receive private treatment in the UK may find that they can claim compensation in the UK if they are harmed
• Identifying the negligent body or individual is not always straightforward in cases of clinical negligence. Sometimes NHS treatments use private providers and in many cases patients come in to contact with various medical professionals.
Don’t delay – call us now for advice on private clinical negligence compensation claims
Who should I send my complaint to?
That depends on who was responsible for the problem. For example, if the negligence occurred in hospital complaints should be made to the Chief Executive of the Trust responsible for that hospital. GP negligence complaints should be made to the Practice Manager of the GP Practice where the deceased was receiving treatment.
What about making complaints against private hospitals or clinics?
Making complaints against private sector healthcare staff is slightly different to making NHS complaints. And complaints for private medical treatment should be made directly to the consultant or surgeon responsible at their usual place of practice.
However there is one additional factor with mistakes made while using private healthcare – typically you can make a claim for ‘breach of contract’ if you feel they have acted negligently towards you. Our solicitors will be able to explain your rights and options in more detail.
What is Informed Consent?
It’s perfectly natural to want any major surgical procedure over with as soon as possible, so that you can be discharged from hospital, get back home and recover.
What many patients fail to realize though is that any time they go through an operation or procedure they have to sign a consent form stating that they fully understand and accept that there are some risks associated with having the surgery. This is known as “informed consent”, and is a critical part of the process.
What are the implications of giving informed consent?
The consent process means that the doctor concerned should clearly and fully explain to the patient all of the potential risks, including possible future problems. The doctor will then ask you to sign to give your permission for you to undergo surgery.
Remember though, that giving your consent and accepting that there may be some risks associated with the procedure does not mean you are signing away your right to claim medical negligence if there are mistakes made by the medical professionals.
Although the medical profession sometimes try to fob patients off, informed consent can never be used as an excuse for medical negligence.
Does every surgical patient give proper informed consent?
Remarkably, some people are never fully told about the risks connected with their operation, and some people are not even told anything at all about the risks with any surgery carries with it.
In these instances, not getting proper consent is in itself medical negligence, and can be used to start a surgical negligence compensation claim against the medical professionals concerned. The situation is even worse if you are in pain or have been injured without having been warned that it could be a possibility..
If you feel that you were not given informed consent before your procedure, and this has caused you injury, pain or financial losses as a love, then you might well have a good case for claiming damages against the doctors who treated you.
There’s no need to feel mistreated or cheated if you’ve suffered as a result of not giving informed consent for an operation. Give our team a call right away and we will help you get the compensation which you rightly deserve.
Click to find out more about Making a Medical Negligence Claim
I live in the North of England; can I still use you for my medical negligence claim
Absolutely, whilst our 4 offices are in Wiltshire and Hampshire, some of our team work entirely remotely.
But we are not just limited to representing clients in medical compensation claims in those 2 counties. We act for clients throughout Englandand Wales. So regardless of location, if you need an experienced medical negligence solicitor to help you with a claim against the NHS or a private medical establishment in the UK, we can help.
What is a never event?
Never events are dangerous medical incidents and typically include leaving one or more of the medical instruments used during the course an operation inside the patient following completion of the procedure, operating on the wrong part or side of the body, incorrectly setting up feeding and breathing tubes causing a risk of the patient drowning and incorrectly administering drugs such as insulin, all of which have potentially devastating – even life threatening – consequences.
Peter Walsh, the chief executive of AvMA – Action on Medical Accidents, a UK charity campaigning for patient safety and justice has been quoted as saying that never events should be entirely avoidable “simply by following standard procedures.”
But sadly these events do happen. And they are often the grounds of successful medical negligence claims.
Will there be a lot of incomprehensible legal jargon?
During the course of legal proceedings, legal jargon is unavoidable at least to some degree. However, you needn’t worry about becoming confused. We always seek to communicate with our clients in clear, concise English and if there is anything you don’t understand we will help you make sense of it.
We’ve come across solicitors who still insist on writing to personal injury and medical negligence clients using Latin phrases – you won’t find that with us. We are big fans of simple, plain English.
So if you’re thinking of making a medical negligence claim – don’t delay, contact our specialists today