Medical Negligence Claims Still Viable During Pandemic
Concerns are mounting that the medical profession will be flooded with negligence cases in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unless the government steps in with an overall plan, these cases are likely to be widespread as patients face dangerous delays to operation times, and the pressure on the NHS potentially leads to dangerous mistakes.
Can You still Sue the NHS During the COVID-19?
Despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed a great amount of strain on the NHS, it is still possible to bring a claim against the NHS if you have been the victim of medical negligence. It is written into the NHS Constitution that you have the right to make a complaint about any aspect of NHS care, treatment or service. This could then later lead to a clinical negligence claim.
Some common examples of clinical negligence include:
- Failure to diagnose your condition or delivering the wrong diagnosis
- Failure to refer you for further investigative work such as X-Rays or ultrasounds
- Making an avoidable mistake during a procedure or an operation
- Giving you incorrect medication or treatment
- Did not get your informed consent to carry out a procedure
- Did not fully warn you about all the risks of the treatment that you were undergoing
If you have suffered from incorrect medical treatment, it may also be referred to as a ‘medical accident’ or ‘patient safety incident’.
If you believe that you were a victim of NHS negligence that resulted in delayed treatment, misdiagnosis or avoidable injury, then the first step that you should take should be to make a formal complaint.
NHS Complaints Procedure
When making a complaint to the NHS, you can choose to complain to either:
- The organisation where you received the NHS service. This could be the hospital, GP surgery or dental surgery that you received your treatment in, and is known as your healthcare provider
- The organisation that paid for the service or care that you received, known as the commissioner
The commissioner that you would be complaining to would vary depending on the NHS service that you are complaining about. For instance:
NHS England deal with complaints about primary care services such as GPs, dentists, opticians, or pharmacy service.
Your local clinical commissioning group deals with complaints about mental health services, hospital care, and out-of-hours services
Your local authority deals with complaints about public health organizations, such as services that prevent disease and promote health.
You can complain via a letter in the post, by email, or by speaking to someone in the organisation. You should make your complaint within 12 months of the incident, or at least within 12 months of the matter coming to your attention. In some cases, this time limit may be extended as long as it is still possible to investigate your complaint. In a number of cases, it is possible for a family member, friend, or local MP to complain on your behalf, as long as they have your permission.
When you have gone through the process of making a complaint, we can then help you to get the compensation that you deserve. Despite the fact that we are living in unusual circumstances, the healthcare system should still be held accountable for avoidable mistakes that are made.
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