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?’
It is important to remember that not all GP mistakes give rise to a legal claim. Many clerical and procedural 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 a GP’s mistake has had a serious impact on their health.
Claims for compensation for GP mistakes 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 funding agreements for medical negligence claims enables patients to bring an action with little or no financial risk. The economic recession may also be a contributory factor. Official figures show that 6,500 medical negligence claims were issued in the last 12 months alone. Whilst acknowledging the statistics, the MDU says it sees no evidence of a drop in the standard of medical care in the UK.
GPs are backed by a government scheme which covers them for an compensation claim made against them. Parliament has considered introducing a ‘no fault’ medical negligence compensation scheme for victims. But 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 for a GP mistake then make sure you go to a solicitor with the necessary specialist expertise and is willing to work on a no win, no basis.
So, if you have been left asking. ‘my GP has made a mistake, what can I 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 with brief details to [email protected]