NHS Negligence Compensation Claims

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by NHS negligence, we can help.

If your injuries were caused by the negligence of a doctor, nurse, midwife or other medical professional, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

Claiming injury compensation with a solicitor

You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a specialist clinical negligence solicitor.

Your solicitor will ask you about what happened, and they will collect evidence to prove the negligence happened. Your solicitor will also work out how much money you can claim, based on your injuries, lost earnings and other expenses.

We can help you make a medical negligence claim on a No Win No Fee basis.

In this article

Introduction

According to a recent report published by NHS Resolution (formerly NHS Litigation Authority), NHS England has seen an increase in costs associated with clinical negligence claims in recent years.

NHS Resolution received 12,629 new clinical negligence claims in 2020/21 and costs were £2.324bn.

If you have suffered harm as the result of the actions or negligence of an NHS doctor, nurse or other other medical practitioner, you may be able to claim compensation from the NHS Trust.

Read more:

Clinical negligence compensation claims

NHS negligence and COVID - March 2022 Update

In March 2020, the Coronavirus Act 2020 was passed, granted wide-ranging emergency powers to the Government to handle the pandemic.

The Act also granted legal immunity to doctors and other health professionals against clinical negligence claims where the negligence occurred in relation to a service that was affected "because of a reason relating to coronavirus".

The wording is very broad, and could concievably cover cases of clinical negligence that had little to do with the pandemic. As the COVID emergency ends, it remains to be seen how broadly the courts are willing to interpret this immunity.

If you were harmed by negligent NHS treatment during the pandemic (including misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis), you may still have a strong claim. Speak to an expert today regarding your options for compensation.

Your right to complain about NHS negligence

If you are not happy with the care or treatment you received, or you have been refused treatment, you have the right to complain through the NHS Complaints Procedure.

Complaints must be dealt with efficiently and be properly investigated, and the complainant must be given a full and prompt reply about the outcome.

If you are not satisfied with the way the complaint has been handled, then you can escalate the matter to the independent Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

The NHS Constitution also states that you have a right to receive compensation if you have been harmed.

How do I make a formal complaint against the NHS?

Although it is not necessary to use the NHS Complaints Procedure before bringing a claim for clinical negligence, you may find the outcome of the Complaints Proecedure helpful when you are deciding whether or not to proceed with a claim.

You should also consider getting specialist advice from a clinical negligence solicitor.

What is NHS Resolution?

NHS Resolution was founded as The NHS Litigation Authority in 1995 to defend any claims against the NHS. NHS Resolution has pledged to:

"ensure that claims made against the NHS are handled fairly and consistently, with due regard to the interests of both patients and the NHS."

Only 2% of cases dealt with by NHS Resolution reach court, with the Authority preferring, where possible, to settle cases via mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution. Reaching an out-of-court settlement saves both parties time and stress associated with taking formal legal action, and, crucially, reduces costs.

Wherever possible, NHS Resolution seeks to offer the option of an independent mediation service. This service is intended to give the parties involved to meet, if they wish, to discuss the matter, agree a settlement and for the negligent party to offer an apology or explanation to the claimant.

How do I prove NHS negligence?

Demonstrating that negligence has occurred can be complex as its definition may be regarded differently by various medical experts.

Traditionally negligence has been judged on the Bolam test (named after a clinical negligence case in 1957).

The Bolam test considers how other healthcare practitioners would have acted given the same circumstances. The courts have also recently developed more flexible assessments - allowing them to interpret negligence claims against other criteria such as NICE (National Institute of Health and Care Excellence) guidelines.

You can only claim compensation if it can be demonstrated that ‘on the balance of probability' your treatment was carried out negligently - meaning the care received fell below medically acceptable standards and this failing directly caused the injury.

Examples of clinical negligence claims include injuries due to a healthcare provider:

Some injuries that occur through medical treatment may be referred to as ‘medical accidents' or ‘patient safety incidents'. Injury in such cases may or may not be due to the treatment being negligent, however, and will depend on the circumstances of the case.

How do I take legal action against an NHS Trust for clinical negligence?

Anyone injured as a result of negligent medical treatment may be able to take legal action for compensation. You may also be able to take legal action for compensation on someone else's behalf where:

  • the injured person has died as a result of the negligent medical treatment
  • the injured person does not have the capacity to take legal action for themselves

Many people are reluctant to launch a claim against the NHS. However, a patient who has sustained an injury caused by the negligence of someone working in the NHS has a right to be compensated for any losses incurred as a result.

Can I still claim if I didn't report the nhs negligence?

If you did not report the accident it can make it more difficult to pursue a nhs negligence claim, but a claim may still be possible. This will depend on the circumstances of your case and on the other evidence available.

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

Author:
Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher