All about Medical Negligence and the NHS

With the end of 2019 reporting record-long delays in A&E wait times, the NHS is being stretched more than ever. In December alone, nearly 100,000 of the sickest patients were forced to spend over four hours on trolleys and in corridors because of a lack of beds. In addition to this, one in six crews had to queue outside A&E for more than 30 minutes while they waited to handover patients to hospital staff. Unfortunately, the pressure placed on staff to meet targets is leading to a drop in safety standards, and patients suing the NHS is becoming an unfortunately common occurrence. 

What are common NHS negligence claims? 

A medical negligence claim, whether against the NHS or a private institution, can include a number of different situations. However, some of the most common ones include: 

  • Surgery negligence claims 
  • Wrongful amputation claims 
  • Care home and nursing home negligence claims 
  • Dental negligence claims 
  • Cosmetic surgery negligence claims 
  • A&E negligence claims 
  • Pregnancy and birth negligence claims 
  • Gynaecological negligence claims 

However, this is not an exhaustive list, and a medical negligence payout can be achieved whenever an unpleasant scenario fulfils the definition of medical negligence. 

What is the definition of medical negligence? 

The medical negligence claim process involves being able to prove the presence of neglect. This can be roughly judged based on something known as the 4 D’s of medical malpractice. These are: 

  • Duty 

During their extensive training process, all potential doctors are made aware of the duty of care that they must provide for their patients. 

  • Derelict

The official term for when a medical professional is considered to have broken this duty of care is dereliction. 

  • Direct Cause 

In order for a medical malpractice claim to be filed, you must be able to prove that it was the direct fault of a medical professional. 

  • Damages

The medical negligence payout that you could earn will be calculated based on the physical injury and the psychological injury, as well as any medical or travel expenses. 

How much medical compensation could I receive?

There are a number of different factors that will have an impact on the overall amount that you could receive. You will need to be able to prove that your injury or condition is worse than it would have been if you had not been the victim of medical negligence. Additionally, things that will have to be considered will be: 

  • Any travel expenses that have built up while you were in the process of receiving medical treatment.  
  • Whether your condition will prevent or may already have prevented you from working and will therefore result in a loss of earnings. 
  • Any cost of extra care you may need to receive. 
  • Any extra medical expenses that you have already paid, in addition to any future treatment that you will need to receive. 

What are the relevant time limits on making a claim?

The time limit on entering the claims process against the NHS is within three years of when the incident occurred. You must be able to prove that your injuries or illness are directly due to a medical professional’s mistake. 

Making a claim against the NHS can seem like a potentially daunting task, but in fact it can be straightforward with the right legal support. 

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