The rise in complaints against GPs is on an upward spiral. It is therefore no surprise that our legal helpline receives a regular number of calls from people asking, ‘my GP has made a mistake, what can I do?’
First, not all GP mistakes give rise to a legal claim. many minor issues, particularly those relating to a patient’s medical records can be sorted out through the complaints process.
Patients do however need to turn to a specialist solicitor when the GP mistake has had a serious impact on their health. A claim can be made against the National Health Service where a GP has been negligent and the patient has directly suffered as a result.
Claims for compensation for a GP mistake have been increasing year on year. The most common reason for the marked rise in GP negligence claims is late or incorrect diagnosis, along with prescription errors and a failure to refer patients for specialist treatment. The Medical Defence Union (MDU), which insures more than half of Britain’s doctors, acknowledged not only the rise in the number of negligence claims, but also the increase in the value of claims worth more than £1 million, which are up more than tenfold in the past 15 years.
The availability of no win, no fee agreements for medical negligence claims enables patients to bring an action with little or no financial risk. The current economic recession may also be a contributory factor. Official figures show that the cost of litigation to the NHS is now £15 billion a year, with over 6,500 medical negligence claims being issued in the last 12 months alone. Whilst acknowledging the statistics, the MDU says it sees no evidence of a drop in medical standards of care.
With the impending withdrawal of legal aid for medical negligence cases, the Government hopes that fewer patients will sue the NHS. Parliament has also considered a ‘no fault’ medical negligence compensation scheme. If this is ever introduced it is likely to reduce the levels of compensation being paid to clinical negligence claimants.
In the meantime, if you wish to bring a medical negligence claim in respect of a GP mistake then you should ensure that you instruct a solicitor with the necessary specialist expertise, who can offer a no win, no fee agreement.
So, if your GP has made a mistake and you want to know what you can do then call our free legal helpline on 0808 139 1606 . We will be happy to provide you with a free initial assessment of your medical negligence case along with details of our No Win, No Fee funding option. Alternatively send an email to [email protected]