Medical care at the NHS is usually exceptional, and most patients have no issues with it. Sadly, however, there are times when things go wrong and, when they do, the impact can be devastating. If you think that the treatment you received at the NHS was substandard and has left you feeling worse, you may be able to make an NHS claim and seek compensation.
This article provides discusses all you need to know if you are considering suing the NHS for negligence.
Who Can Sue the NHS?
If you have suffered an injury or illness as a result of NHS negligence, you may be eligible to make a claim and seek NHS compensation. You will also be able to make an NHS negligence claim if you are the next of kin of a patient who incapable of making their own decisions or have passed away as a result of medical negligence NHS.
Lodging a Complaint Against Negligence
If you have been a victim of negligent treatment at the NHS, you can make a complaint against the NHS body responsible for your care. Although you do not lodge a formal complaint using the NHS complaints procedure before starting an NHS claim, doing this can help you find out more about the incident. Once investigation has been done on your case, you will be armed with extra knowledge to make an informed decision regarding taking legal action.
Complaining and Starting a Claim
In most NHS negligence cases, it will be possible for you to make a formal complaint to the NHS whilst pursuing a compensation claim. Usually, the complaint process can run while your claims process is going through, unless you make a specific request for the complaint to be put on hold. However, in certain cases, it may be important that your complained is put on hold if the judge believes that it may be an interference with the case. If this happens, you need to speak with specialist NHS solicitors who will offer legal advice on your case.
Making a Compensation Claim
You can make a claim to secure compensation for any injuries or losses incurred as a direct result of the negligence you or your loved one suffered. This compensation may cover for pain and suffering, cost of ongoing treatment, loss of earnings, and financial settlement if you have been unable to perform your usual hobbies due to the negligent treatment.
You may also be entitled to make a claim to cover the cost of special equipment required to help you adjust to your home if you have been physically disabled as a result of the injury. The NHS negligence claim process can also be complex and distressing, so you may be able to claim compensation for any psychological trauma the negligence has caused.
What the Court Cannot Do
Before starting a medical negligence claim, it is important to be aware of the court’s powers and limitations. With the help of your NHS solicitors and the court, you can seek compensation. However, if you do not want to make a claim for financial settlement and simply want disciplinary action against your medical professional, it will be impossible for the court to help in this case. In this case, your best bet will be lodging a formal complaint to the NHS via the NHS complaints procedure.
What Qualifies as Medical Negligence?
Do you feel mistreated but are unsure if you have suffered negligent treatment? You are not alone; many patients who make medical negligence NHS claims weren’t sure if the medical care they received was standard to start with.
If your healthcare professional has failed to diagnose your condition, provided you with the wrong medication or treatment, failed to listen to your complaint, or failed to seek your consent before taking a decision on your health, you may have suffered medical negligence. Other examples of negligent treatment include surgical errors, not being warned about the risks of a procedure and failing to follow up to check the progress of a particular procedure.
However, you may have suffered negligent treatment that is not listed above; if you feel that something might have gone wrong with the treatment you received, you need to get in touch with NHS solicitors to help you determine if there are grounds for a claim.
Time Limits for NHS Negligence Claims
If you are considering making an NHS claim, keep in mind that there is a three-year time limit that applies to all NHS negligence claims. This time limit begins from the date that the negligent treatment occurred, or the date that you, or the patient you are representing, became aware that there has been an injury or illness as a result of negligence. If you are making a claim on behalf of a child, the three-year time limit only begins from their 18th birthday.
In the same vein, if you are acting on behalf of a patient who lacks mental capacity to manage their affairs, the three-year time limit only begins when they recover; if recovery is impossible, then a next of kin can act on their behalf.
If you believe that you or your loved one have suffered negligent treatment while under NHS care, then it is important that you speak with a specialist in medical negligence as quickly as possible. Do not leave speaking to an NHS solicitor until the last minute, as most solicitors will turn down cases already close to the three-year time limit.
Get in touch with specialist medical negligence solicitors at Medical Negligence Direct; you will receive helpful advice and support regarding your claim, and take steps that can enhance your chance of a successful outcome.
Cost of Medical Negligence for the NHS
This is probably the main bone of contention so long as suing the NHS for negligence is concerned, as its resources are already under pressure.
However, it is worth noting just how huge the NHS negligence bill really is, and what this means in context. The NHS has a body known as the NHS Resolution; this body collects almost £2bn from its members (the NHS Trusts). Using 2017-18 as a case study, the NHS had an overall budget of £124.7bn, which gives you the real scale of what the NHS sets aside for medical negligence claims.