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Suing The NHS: Medical Negligence Compensation


Medical negligence damages cases are where patients seek compensation from the NHS or suing the NHS hospital because sub-standard negligent medical treatment has caused the injury or harm. Applications can be against medical professionals such as a hospital doctor, GP, nurse, physiotherapist, dentist, pharmacist or ambulance driver, and upon medical institutions such as an NHS hospital, private hospital or a GP surgery.

Medical negligence compensation claims (also known as clinical negligence or medical malpractice) is a complicated area of law. It is therefore important that individual take advice from a solicitor who is a recognized expert in the field before a patient sue the NHS or make a claim against a doctor.


There are three principal elements that have to be discovered and explained in order for a medical negligence compensation case to be successful. This is the same whether they are using the NHS or a private doctor
      Negligence
      Causation
      Damages

Negligence – the first element of a clinical/medical negligence compensation claim. The first element for their solicitor to determine if are using the NHS or a private doctor is that the medical professional or medical institution was careless. Oversight is where the standard of medical care given by the NHS or private hospital fell below the level required of a professional in the field.

Medical professionals will not be inattentive just because there was a real alternative for the care. To be negligent so that you (through your solicitor) can sue the NHS, the level of care needs to have fallen below the level expected of the average competent medical professional in the field. The question to ask when bringing a claim on a doctor or hospital is whether a reasonably competent doctor in the same specialty faced with the same situation could reasonably have acted in the same way.

Causation – the second element of a clinical/medical negligence compensation claim to sue NHS hospitals or private medical institutions

The second element to show is that there is a causal link between the negligence and the harm, ie that the injury, damage, and loss suffered is a direct consequence of medical negligence. Even when medical practitioners and hospitals realize that there was negligence, they often argue that the causation element of a clinical negligence / medical malpractice compensation claim has not done met. Causation is a complex element of a clinical negligence / medical negligence claim for a solicitor to show when using the NHS  or GPs. Solicitor will want to get the opinion of a medical expert if they are to strongly sue the NHS or a doctor. Usually, the expert who is assessing negligence will also consider whether there was causation.

Damages - the third element of a medical negligence claim against the NHS

The third element that must be proved to sue NHS hospitals and doctors in a clinical negligence / medical negligence case is split, ie the amount of compensation the patient should take. The number of injuries will depend on a diversity of factors, the most important of which are the patient’s pain and difficulty and the financial loss the patient has acquired and will incur.

Financial loss can cover the future costs of attending the patient. It can also include the patient’s future lost income where, as a result of the negligence, the patient is no longer able to work or to earn as much as he or she would otherwise.  Where a patient will require significant care provider and will no longer be able to work, the number of injuries awarded when they bring a claim against the NHS or a hospital can be extremely high.

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