When we visit our doctor, be it a GP or a specialist, presenting our health challenges with the accompanying symptoms, we hope to receive the required standard of care and solution to our health needs. We put our trust in them hoping that we will find relief and not come off worse.
Medical professionals owe their patients a duty of care which means that they are saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that the patients under their care receive quality healthcare service and should employ all available medical tools to ensure this or make appropriate referrals to where the patients can be well taken care of.
When a doctor fails in this duty of care, you can make a report for medical malpractice. First you can make a complaint and thereafter proceed to make a claim if you are unsatisfied with the outcome or you have become sure that you have enough evidence to prove a claim of medical negligence.
What is Doctor Negligence?
Doctor negligence describes a situation where a GP, specialist doctor or even a surgeon was negligent in his duty and provides substandard care to a patient under his care causing the patient harm, trauma or a more complicated medical condition.
Consequences of doctor negligence can be very traumatizing for the patient and family as some have had to suffer permanent disabilities while some have unfortunately died as a result of medical malpractice.
When this happens, you would want to know how to report medical misconduct to appropriate authorities and you need to choose the right solicitors to help guide you appropriately and make claims if you decide to do so.
Doctor’s Duty To Patient
A doctor is generally expected to perform the following duties to patients under his or her care:
- Give rapt attention to the patient, taking note of complaints and symptoms
- Review the medical history of the patient
- Perform thorough physical examination on the patient
- Recommend the patient for tests and scans where necessary
- Make correct diagnosis based on the test results and begin treatment promptly
- Refer the patient to a Specialist if there is need for expert observation and diagnosis
- Inform the patient of risks associated with various procedures or treatment options and get a consent before proceeding
- Make accurate prescriptions and ensure the patient clearly knows how to take them
- Perform surgeries accurately
- In cases of emergency, stabilize the patient and make proper arrangement for the patient to be moved from home to the hospital
- Monitor the patient’s progress or make adequate follow ups on the patient if discharged
Doctor Negligence Statistics In UK
Despite the quality of healthcare available in the UK, doctor negligence continues to rise every year. In 2019/2020, the annual NHS negligence compensation claims report from the NHS Resolution shows that the NHS paid out about £2.3billion for negligence settlement payouts while about £61.4 million of this sum was spent on GP negligence claims alone.
In the previous year, emergency medicine received the highest number of medical negligence compensation claims (13% of total claims), this is followed by Orthopaedic surgery (12%), Obstetrics (10%) and General Surgery (9%).
What Is Considered As Medical Malpractice By A Doctor?
The following can be considered as medical negligence or malpractice which can cause you to sue for medical malpractice;
- Wrong diagnosis
- Totally missed diagnosis
- Carrying out a procedure without obtaining the patient’s consent
- Wrong or delayed treatment
- Prescriptions errors
- Unnecessary delays in making the right diagnosis
- Discriminating treatment
- Failing to recommend to a patient the required tests or scans
- Delay or failure in referring the patient to a specialist
Making a Report For Medical Malpractice Against a Doctor
There is a laid down medical complaint procedure when you want to report a doctor for medical malpractice or clinical negligence.
The complaint procedure is divided into two-
- Local resolution Stage
Local Resolution Stage
If the doctor is a staff of the NHS, you will write a formal report against the doctor addressing it to the Practice Manager. Alternatively, you can also direct your complaints to the NHS commissioning body.
The reason for reporting a doctor for medical malpractice is to seek explanations into what transpired and to express your displeasure and dissatisfaction by the actions or inactions of the medical professional. Making a report will also help you understand clearly what happened.
Sometimes, some individuals make a report just to get the doctor to accept his mistakes and offer an apology.
The rule regarding such complaints is that they must be made within one year of becoming aware of the negligent treatment. The NHS Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) can guide you on how to make such complaints.
In the case of a doctor working in a private establishment, you can direct your complaints or report to their superiors.
In 2018/2019 alone, about 208,924 formal complaints were written against the NHS for various acts of medical negligence. Therefore, you are not alone in this and so you should feel free to express your displeasure. Reports do not yield compensation but it can also help the hospital to make changes where appropriate to prevent a recurrence.
In writing your report, be precise and state your case clearly. It is also important that you do so in a very decent manner without any provocative or abusive language.
It is important to include the following in your complaint;
- The main subject of your complaint
- The Doctor involved
- The events that transpired and why you think the doctor acted negligently
- The explanations you seek and if you want a face-to-face discussion or a written letter of apology
When you write your report and send it, your recipients will notify you in no later than four working days that they have received your letter. They will also make their findings and contact you, issuing you a reply or explanation.
If you are making a complaint on behalf of another person, you will be required to add a letter showing that you were authorized to make complaints on behalf of the individual involved.
Also, if the person is deceased, you will be required to show that you are family or next of kin and so able to write on their behalf.
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO)
After the first stage and you are not satisfied with the response you received or how the investigations were handled, then you can make a report to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO). The PHSO is an independent body which accepts complaints or reports of medical malpractice if they were unresolved after the local resolution stage.
You can find a guide to making medical negligence complaint procedures on the Ombudsman website.
There is also a form that can be filled online or downloaded and filled manually. The Ombudsman will require that you make available all complaint details and responses received. This is why it is important that all these documents are well secured.
For a case of a privately working doctor, you will contact the Independent Healthcare Sector Complaints Adjudication Service and they will guide you on their complaints procedure.
After you must have made these reports and you feel you have gathered enough evidence or you are not satisfied with the outcome of the investigations made, you may proceed to make a claim
In summary, the steps to making a medical malpractice claim are;
- Contact Us for a free assessment of your case and free legal advice:
- Funding Your Claim
- Gathering Evidence to corroborate your claims
- Establishing Liability and submitting a letter of claim
- Negotiating Value of compensation and payment
Contact A Specialist Solicitor Today For A Free Claim Assessment
How Do I Prove That My Doctor Acted Negligently?
When you decide to make a claim, the onus lies on you as the plaintiff and your lawyer to show that you were indeed a victim of medical malpractice and that you have suffered harm as a result. To prove that you were a victim of medical malpractice from your doctor, you need to show that;
- Your doctor owed you a duty of care
- Your doctor failed or breached that duty of care
- You suffered avoidable pain, trauma or complications as a result of the negligent treatment
Your medical negligence solicitor will help you prove your claim and will inform you of the relevant documents you need to establish your claims.
These will include;
- Full statements of events that transpired
- Medical reports, tests and scan results
- Witness accounts
- Proof of financial losses
- Photographs or images of the injury where necessary
- Your lawyer will also request the services of an independent medical expert in the relevant field to perform medical examinations on you and ascertain the true extent of damage. This report will be very vital to prove your claims.
How Much Compensation For Doctor Malpractice?
The amount of money you can receive as compensation or settlement payout for medical malpractice depends on certain factors which are peculiar with each case. The payout value is not fixed.
In the UK, the average compensation fee for medical negligence is £50,000 but compensation amounts can be as low as £1,000 or as high as several millions of pounds depending on the following factors;
- Type and site of injury
- Severity of the injury and extent of damage
- Financial losses incurred including out of pocket expenses; this will include past, present and estimated future financial losses
- Future prognosis
- Costs of further medical appointments and further treatment
- Rehabilitation costs including (mobility aids, assistive devices and the costs of replacements)
- Cost of hiring caregivers
- Accommodation adjustment costs
Our Expertise in Doctor Negligence Claims
At Medical Negligence Direct, we have a team of specialist medical negligence solicitors who are experts in doctor negligence claims who will represent you and guide you throughout the negligence claims.
When you come to us, we will assign to you a personal lawyer who will make an assessment of your case and also evaluate the chances of winning.
We understand that this is a very difficult period for you and so we will do our very best to prove that you are a victim of doctor negligence so that you may be deservedly compensated.
Our solicitors have a very enviable record of settling negligence claims cases very quickly and with the best possible settlement payouts. We will stand by your side and support you in any way you require so that the entire process is stress free for you.
No Win No Fee Medical Negligence Claims Solicitors
Our Solicitors will undertake your doctor malpractice claims under our No Win No Fee policy (Conditional Fee Agreement). This means that you can take legal action against a medical professional without any financial risks to you.
You will not be required to pay us any legal fees before or during the entire negligence claims process and you will also not have to pay us even if the case is not successful as we take out an insurance cover for you that protects you from such financial implications.
When your case is won, however, a 25% success fee is deducted from your total compensation award value when it is paid while you receive the rest.
Time Limit For Medical Negligence Claims
According to the Limitation Act of 1980, you only have a three-year time frame from the date of medical malpractice or from the date you became aware of it to make a negligence claim. If the individual is dead, this time limit allows three years from the date of death to make a claim.
The few exceptions to the rule are;
- Where the individual is below 18 years of age as at the time of the medical negligence, the individual will have until his or her 21st birthday to make a claim. This is because the time limit begins to apply when the individual becomes an adult (clocks 18).
- Also, if the individual is mentally or physically incapacitated and is unable to make claims, the time frame is relaxed until he or she is able to do so.
However, in the above cases, a close relation or next of kin known legally as a litigation friend can make claims on their behalf. We are here to give you more explanations about this work if you wish to make claims on behalf of a loved one. Read more about medical negligence claims time limit.
How can we help you?
Medical professionals owe a duty of care to their patients and when they fail in their duty of care to their patients, the results can be devastating and even fatal. Contact us today, for a free claim assessment and
If we are convinced that you have a valid claim, we will proceed to represent you.
We encourage you to start your claims as soon as possible because of the sensitive and delicate nature of medical negligence claims. Beginning your claims on time allows your lawyers ample time to prepare adequately, gather enough evidence and give you a strong legal representation.