Complaints about the National Health Service (NHS) including complaints of medical negligence are common due to various issues such as insufficient funding, hospital closures, not enough staff and long waiting lists. If you believe that you are a victim of medical negligence, in the first instance, we advise you to make a formal complaint against the NHS. This is because any response from the NHS may contain important evidence that can be used in subsequent legal proceedings for a medical negligence compensation claim. There is a standard procedure in place for patients to make a complaint to the NHS. Prior to doing this, we recommend, that you write out all the facts about what transpired, and make copies of any supporting information, such as letters from your GP or specialist, etc.
Complaints to the National Health Service should be made within six months from the date of the incident (or from when you first realised that there was a problem). There are discretionary exceptions to this time limit if it is deemed unreasonable to expect a complaint to be made within the time limit.
Complaints to a surgery, hospital or clinic can be made either personally or in writing. You will subsequently receive a written acknowledgment after a complaint has been received by the NHS. An investigation will be launched, and you may be requested to talk about the issue in person.
The next stage involves what is known as 'local resolution' which is a formal written response. In many cases, patients are not satisfied with this initial outcome, which leaves them free to take further action by applying to the Healthcare Commission's independent review panel and thereafter to the Health Service Ombudsman who is completely independent of the NHS and Government.
Our medical negligence solicitors deal with NHS complaints as a precursor to taking legal action for personal injury compensation. The information revealed in the response to the NHS complaint is often useful as evidence in a substantive medical negligence compensation claim. We offer initial advice at no cost and without any further obligation. We operate using both the no win no fee* scheme and legal aid where appropriate especially in claims by those under the age of 18 years. Do yourself justice and give us a call.
The Accident and Emergency department in an acute hospital is a unique place in which to practice medicine and in which to be a patient. Accident and emergency departments are busy places with most of the staff under extreme pressure for their entire shift. The stress of dealing with a life threatening emergency may result in mistakes being made.
Unless the emergency department is equipped with electronic medical records that match the medical facility in which the patient receives his or her primary care, the hospital staff must depend on the patient’s imperfect recollection when it comes to the medications they are taking, including their doses, and on the past medical records of the patient that are available within the admitting facility. Patients may use A&E in different hospitals to receive care, depending upon the type of emergency, and an accurate medical record of their visits is, for the most part unavailable, which may cause extreme difficulty in diagnosis and treatment.
Accident and Emergency department doctors and nurses, while still given very little past information to go on are not immune to medical negligence. In order to prove clinical negligence, the patient’s solicitor must prove that a similarly trained, competent physician would not have made the same mistake under the same circumstances. This is where it gets a little tricky - the medical staff in A&E does not always have the luxury of calm consideration of the patient’s condition as is available in other medical situations, however, this shouldn’t affect your legal right to high standards of care in a hospital.
Common accident and emergency treatment claims :-