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How do I complain about Medical Negligence?

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Most medical negligence claims involve the NHS. Typically, the NHS spends over £2 billion a year settling medical negligence claims, around 2% of the total budget of NHS England.

To claim for medical negligence, you must follow a set of procedures. But first, in some instances, you should make an official complaint to the hospital or GP Practice.

Doing this first is helpful because the written exchange with the NHS will provide documentary evidence necessary to support your claim.

How Do You Contact the NHS about Medical Negligence?

Under the NHS Constitution for England, you have the right to complain about any aspect of NHS care, treatment, or services.

The advice from the NHS is that you should make any official complaint within 12 months of an incident occurring.

Most NHS hospitals will have a Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS), and here you can get confidential advice, support, and information, and this service may be able to help you resolve any issues you have informally.

This is very much a first step, and normally you would take it yourself, rather than using a solicitor or other form of legal support.

You submit your complaint to an NHS PALS and this is a separate process from any later legal claim you may make for compensation.

Nevertheless, this is an important stage in the overall process, because it will provide you with a written record of your complaint and what the NHS has told you in response to it.

If, however, you’re not satisfied with the response you get from the NHS, you can also take your complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. Again, this can offer a route to resolution, but it isn’t the same as making a legal medical negligence claim.

You must have made your initial complaint directly to the NHS before contacting the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

Making a Medical Negligence Claim Against the NHS

If you want to make a clinical negligence claim you should use a medical negligence solicitor.

You will need to prove that the NHS is responsible for your injury and that this was due to a breach in their duty of care towards you.

There can be various ways in which you experience medical negligence such as the result of a misdiagnosis, or delayed diagnosis or for something that happens during a surgical procedure.

Proving medical negligence can be challenging and frequently relies on detailed legal arguments.

But it’s also worth noting that the NHS prefers to settle negligence claims out of court wherever possible. NHS Resolution handles claims and it says that 98% are settled this way, either through reaching a settlement or the claimant withdrawing their claim.

For more details about how to complain about medical negligence, or making a claim, please contact us.

Neelam Yusaf

Posted:

Neelam Yusaf

Solicitor

Neelam is a Solicitor within the Medical Negligence Team. The Team handles a wide range of Medical Negligence cases against NHS Hospital Trusts, General and Private Practitioners.