Negligence in hospital

All healthcare professionals working in NHS Trusts must carry out their duties to a recognised professional level. If they do not, negligence might have taken place.

If you suffer an injury - physical or psychological - as a direct result of the treatment you received at an NHS Trust, including hospitals, you could claim compensation for negligence.

Negligence in a hospital, or any other arena in which medical care is offered, is called clinical negligence. You can often claim compensation if:

  • Your doctor or other healthcare professional did not make a correct diagnosis of your illness
  • Your doctor or other healthcare professional prescribed the wrong drugs
  • Your surgeon made a mistake
  • The healthcare professionals looking after you did not give you the required treatment
  • The healthcare professionals looking after you gave you treatment without asking for your permission
  • The healthcare professionals looking after you did not give you details of the risks associated with your treatment

If the negligence that you suffered in hospital has resulted in a minor injury you may just want a formal apology from the hospital that treated you. If this is the case you should follow the NHS Complaints Procedure, about which the hospital can give you full details.

What if the injury is serious?

If you feel that the negligence is more serious, you can begin a claim for compensation. Note that the courts will only look at the actions of your healthcare professional. The courts do not normally have any powers to stop a doctor working, or force a hospital to change its working practices.

If your hospital negligence case is more about changing the behaviour of a doctor, for instance, you can contact the General Medical Council with your complaint as they have the power to discipline doctors and other healthcare professionals. You can also contact the Healthcare Commission about general concerns you have about the hospital that treated you.

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