In general, NHS care is usually exceptionally good, and most patients don’t report having any problems with it. However, the sad part is that occasionally, things can and do go wrong.
NHS doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals may be held highly accountable for their work and the decisions that they make, however, there’s no denying the fact that there is still room for basic, human errors to be made, leading to often serious and devastating consequences.
If you feel that the NHS treatment you have received for an injury or illness has left you feeling worse, for example, due to being given the wrong treatment, waiting too long for your diagnosis or you have experienced an error during surgery, you may be eligible to take legal action and claim compensation from the NHS. Read on for step-by-step information on what you need to do to get compensation for medical negligence in the NHS.
Who Can Take Legal Action?
If you have been injured or are suffering from an illness as a result of medical malpractice within the NHS, you may be able to take legal action for compensation. You will also be able to take legal action for compensation if you are the next of kin of a patient who does not have the capacity to take legal action themselves or have passed away as a result of the medical negligence claim.
Methods of Making a Complaint:
There are several options to choose from when it comes to making a complaint against the treatment that you or a next of kin has received from the NHS. Although you do not have to use the formal NHS complaints procedure before starting legal action against the healthcare provider, you may find that it is useful to do so to find out more information as to what has happened. Once the hospital has investigated your case further, you will then have extra knowledge to use to go ahead and make an informed decision regarding going to court.
Complaining and Taking Legal Action:
In most cases, you will be fine to go ahead and formally complain to the NHS whilst pursuing compensation at the same time. Usually, there will be no need for your complaint to be cancelled or put on hold whilst your claim for clinical negligence is going through, unless you specifically request it to be. However, in some circumstances, it may be necessary to postpone a complaint if the judge rules that it is interfering with the case. If you’re in this situation, speak to experienced medical negligence solicitors who will be able to offer advice specific to your case.
What the Court Can’t Do:
It’s important to be aware of the court’s limitations before pursuing a legal complaint about your healthcare provider. Bear in mind that the only things that the best medical negligence solicitors and the court can help you with is gaining compensation. If you are not interested in compensation and simply want to see disciplinary action taken against your healthcare practitioner, or want an apology from them, the court will be unable to help with this. In this case, it may be a better option to simply make a formal complaint to the NHS.
Depending on the nature of the medical malpractice that you experienced, you may be eligible to receive money from one or more compensation schemes. Speak to your medical negligence lawyers about your case and they’ll be able to advise you on whether or not your specific circumstances apply. For example, people who have contracted HIV whilst receiving NHS treatment are entitled to claim payments from the MacFarlane Trust along with compensation from the government, whilst patients who have suffered physical or mental damage as a result of vaccinations can make a claim to the Vaccine Damage Payment Unit.
Examples of Clinical Negligence:
Don’t feel that you’ve been treated as well as you could have in hospital but aren’t sure if it’s clinical negligence? You’re not alone – many people who file medical negligence claims UK weren’t even aware that they weren’t getting the right treatment to begin with. Some prime examples of clinical negligence include failing to properly diagnose your condition, providing you with the wrong treatment or medication, failing to listen to your concerns, and failing to get your informed consent before a procedure. Even more serious examples include errors made during surgery, not being warned about the risks or side effects of a particular treatment and failing to come back for a follow-up with you to see how well a treatment is working. However, bear in mind that medical malpractice can sometimes be something else altogether. If you feel that something isn’t quite right, you’ll need the best medical negligence solicitors by your side to help you determine your eligibility for a claim.
Time Limits and Legal Constraints:
Bear in mind that if you wish to file a claim for medical negligence UK, there’s a time limit of three years that must be upheld. This time limit usually begins from the moment that you, or the patient that you are acting on behalf of, realised that an injury or illness had occurred as a result of treatment. If you are claiming on behalf of a child of any age, keep in mind that the three-year limit will not start until their 18th birthday.
Similarly, if the claim is on behalf of a patient who is unable to manage their own affairs due to mental disability or impairment, the three-year period will not apply until they recover; if recovery is not possible then a next of kin can make the claim on their behalf at any time. If you believe that you or a loved one has grounds for a medical malpractice case, then it’s important to seek specialist advice as quickly as possible. Don’t leave speaking to a solicitor until the last minute, since many legal professionals will not take on cases that are reaching their three-year limit period. You can get in touch with some firms such as The Medical Negligence Experts through their free patient claim line to get helpful information and advice about your claim at any time, and so if you have any feeling that you might have a claim, take advantage of these resources.
You can claim compensation for any losses or injuries which occurred as a direct result of the negligent treatment received by yourself or a next of kin. This can include compensation for suffering and pain, payment to cover the cost of ongoing treatment, compensation if you have been unable to carry out your usual activities and hobbies as a result of the malpractice, and compensation to cover any loss of earnings that you have suffered due to the negligent treatment. You can also claim to cover the cost of any additional equipment that you need or the cost of adapting your home in the case of physical disabilities. Bear in mind that going through medical negligence can also be quite mentally distressing, so you can claim compensation for any psychological damage caused.
We expect the NHS to look after us well, and in most cases, it lives up to expectations. However, mistakes can always be made, so knowing the next best steps to take in the case of medical negligence is important information for patients to know today.