Medical claims explained
This legal advice website is managed by Pryers Solicitors LLP, authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Our service is dedicated to providing advice on medical claims in England & Wales - call us now for an informal chat about your case on 0800 023 8845.
The vast majority of the cases we deal with are against the NHS. If you have suffered injury or harm following a medical procedure or as a result of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to make a "No Win No Fee" claim . We provide a dedicated service for NHS patients and we are proud to say our legal website is one of the oldest on the web, founded in 2000.
What is medical negligence?
Medical negligence (or malpractice) is the term used by the legal profession to describe a negligent act or omission on the part of a healthcare professional or carer which causes injury or harm to a patient. If you believe that you or a loved one have suffered as a result of such negligence, speak to a specialist solicitor immediately
What to do if you or your loved ones suffer medical injury?
You have the right to complain to the hospital or clinic where you received the treatment or directly to the local NHS Trust. Under NHS rules, you must complain within 6 months of the treatment or act which caused you harm. It is generally a very good idea to complain as soon as possible. Be aware this does not stop you making legal enquiries. More here on how to make an NHS complaint.
Make a claim:
In some cases you may be able to make a claim for medical compensation. Such claims are almost always dealt with by No win No fee agreements which means there should be no financial risk to you or your family.
The difference here compared to any other job is that when you have a scalpel in your hand, there is no room for under-performance or complacency
Top 4 most common types of negligence:
- Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
- Childbirth Injuries
- Medication Errors
- Surgical mistakes
Thousands of people die each year from failure to recognise or diagnose conditions. England & Wales were recently highlighted as having very poor cancer survival rates in comparison to other EU countries and one of the chief causes was said to be late diagnosis.
Prenatal and childbirth injuries are far more common in the UK than people realise. 700,000 women give birth in the UK each year and 40% of these are first time mothers. (source: NICE). Around 10% of births can prove complicated in some way or another. In this highly pressured environment the margin between life or death seldom is more frighteningly apparent.
Thousands of patients each year are put at risk due to wrongful or misapplied prescriptions. It is a huge problem for healthcare systems across the world but in the UK we have a particularly bad record when compare to other countries.
As our data sample below reveals – a surgeons or treating hospital performance can sometimes vary wildly. With 7500 consultant surgeons in the UK (not all it has to be said carrying out surgery) you can assume that there will be a small percentage of under-performers or “outliers” as the NHS calls them. The difference here compared to any other job is that when you have a scalpel in your hand, there is no room for under-performance or complacency.
Hospital performance - How good is your local NHS hospital?
How do you determine how good a hospital is in terms of what services they deliver and how good their surgeons and staff are at treating patients..? It is an almost impossible question to answer because of the vastness of the NHS and the huge number of procedures, treatments and demands that are placed on the UKs healthcare system.
But did you know that there is a website that provides data on NHS and private hospital performance? The NHS MyChoices site offers some valuable (if basic) data on how hospitals and crucially surgeons are performing across the UK. Take a look.
We have extracted the latest available data (from 2014) to give you an idea of which hospitals are under-performing when it comes to certain very common operations or procedures. The figures below are based on recorded patient outcomes or improvement in the health condition.
|Knee replacement||Broadgreen Hospital (Liverpool)||Among the worst in the UK|
|Hip replacement||Altrincham Hospital||Among the worst in the UK|
|Stroke care||Calderdale Royal Hospital (Halifax)||"E" Rating - one of the lowest in the UK|
Do not be afraid of taking on a negligent doctor
You are able to claim if
You have suffered injury or harm as a result of negligence. Your condition / disease / injury has deteriorated due to a lack of care or skill. You have suffered "detriment" in some way because of poor care or service.
The claims process
1. Speak to a No win No fee solicitor
You (including a relative or friend) can obtain informal legal advice on a potential claim by speaking to one of our team.
A solicitor can immediately inform you whether your case is one that legally has any prospects of success.
We will explain what happens next and how the case might progress.
2. Make a formal NHS complaint
In many cases you should make a formal complaint about your circumstances.
The findings might be very useful to you in the event of a compensation case being brought.
We can help you with your complaint in order to ensure the salient points are covered during the investigation. Whether this be against a GP or local hospital
Key questions and answers
Q. How do you pay your costs if you decide to pursue your case against a GP, the NHS or other medical practitioner?
You may be entitled to a "no win no fee" agreement. You may have legal expense insurance (most household policies have this cover). In certain cases you may wish to privately fund your action.
Q. Do you need to complain before considering a claim?
Ideally you should make a complaint about your situation to the treating practice, hospital or NHS Trust - as soon as possible. Generally speaking the NHS complaint procedures stipulate that a complaint must be brought within 6 months of you / your family being aware there was or is a problem. It is possible to make a claim at the same time as lodging a formal complaint - we may be able to help you with both.
Please be aware that circumstances justifying a complaint (which can be numerous) do not necessarily merit pursuing a legal claim.
Q. How do you start a claim for medical negligence?
The first step is to speak to a firm of no win no fee lawyers who specialise in medical claims. We can help provide advice in many cases although we must stress that we cannot deal with every complaint or possible claim.
Make a no obligation enquiry today, and see if you have a case for compensation.
Our specialist solicitors deal with medical negligence (sometimes known as "clinical negligence") involving the NHS or private treatment services and physicians.
Cancer survival rates poor in the UK?
The general standard of healthcare in the UK is considered to be very good. However in some very important areas we are now lagging behind European partners. In the UK our performance in terms of cancer survival rates and other key health metrics is unacceptably low. Late diagnosis being one of the major failures within the NHS system when it comes to serious illness or disease. The situation needs to improve and only by campaigning for better services and taking poor doctors or consultants to task, will the system deliver what we need.
Death rate in the NHS increases at weekends
News this week that around 6000 patients died in hospital over the weekend allegedly as a result of lack of care, the availability of consultants and diagnostic teams. Read our take
Unlike many other occupations, a mistake made by a doctor, physician, midwife or other medical professional (whether this be a GP or a consultant) can have dire consequences for the patient. If that patient happens to be you or a loved one, you must take action. Clinical negligence claims are not 'run of the mill' compensation cases. It should never be assumed that seeking a compensation award in these circumstances is easy, clinical cases are very difficult to win and that is why we would urge caution when choosing your solicitor. Find a specialist firm who have a track record of winning high value serious cases against the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA).
A No Win No Fee medical claim may be made if, as a patient, you have suffered as a result of what you believe to be a mistake whilst in hospital, or as a result of advice (or lack of it) from GP's, nurses, doctors, consultants or any other medical professional - it is only right that you seek legal advice.
Call our specialists for free informal advice on the merits of your case. We will then discuss how any claim can go forward and which funding option would be available to you.