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An Easy Guide to Clinical Negligence (Part 1)

View profile for Chloe Hayter
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An Easy Guide to Clinical Negligence (Part 1)

2020 heralds a new decade, and unfortunately continues to bring a rise in clinical negligence cases. With the NHS paying out £2.4 billion worth of claims in 2018, it's important to understand what clinical negligence is, and the process for you to make a claim.

This article is Part 1 of an easy two-part guide to clinical negligence. For more information contact our Clinical Negligence team:
0800 5999 999
📧 contact@duttongregory.co.uk

  1. What is Clinical or Medical Negligence?
Clinical negligence, also referred to as “medical negligence” covers all medical practitioners.
A clinical negligence claim can be bought when the treating clinician fails to provide a reasonable standard of:
  1. Care
  2. Advice
  3. Treatment
The legal test for breach of duty states:
"If a doctor reaches the standard of a responsible body of medical opinion, he is not negligent".
This means that as long as the care provided would be supported by a responsible body of doctors of the same speciality, then it would not amount to negligence.  It is also necessary to show that a patient has suffered an injury because of the treatment provided.
It is important to remember that not all mistakes are negligent. Sometimes treatment will go wrong, but it will not necessarily be anyone’s fault.

  1. Does my claim have to be for a certain type of clinical negligence?
Clinical negligence claims vary greatly, and could be because of almost any medical treatment received. There does not tend to be a particular trend in cases that we see.
Some more common claims are:
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Delay in diagnosis of cancer
  • Failure to refer
  • Injuries during childbirth to mother and/or baby
We also see dental claims, where inappropriate/incorrect treatment has been provided resulting in the patient requiring additional treatment at further cost.

  1. What levels of care should a patient expect?
Patients have the right to receive reasonable treatment.
Unfortunately, this does not mean “gold standard” treatment. You have the right to be consulted about your treatment, and you must provide consent to undergo treatment. Consent can only be valid if it is given freely without influence.
You must also be fully informed. You cannot provide valid consent to treatment if you have not been given all the information about what the treatment involves, including the risks and benefits.
Finally, you must also have capacity to provide valid consent. This means you must not be a minor and you must be capable of understanding the decision that you are making.

  1. I want to make a claim, how do I start?
The initial process can be broken down into 4 steps:
  1. Firstly, contact our Clinical Negligence team on 0800 5999 999 or email contact@duttongregory.co.uk  
  2. Second, we will assess your claim and discuss the viability with you.
  3. Third, we will request your medical records from any doctor or medical practitioner that has treated you before and after the date of negligence.
  4. Fourth, we would instruct an independent medical expert to examine the records and provide us with an opinion.  
Your medical records and the independent expert evidence will then be used to prove that the medical professional in question has breached their duty of care towards you and the injury that has resulted.
 
This article is the first of a two-part series. Part 2 will be published next month.

For more information contact our Clinical Negligence team:
0800 5999 999
📧 contact@duttongregory.co.uk