How To Complain About Hospital Negligence: Winning Your Case

Living in the UK, we are privileged to have access to the National Health Service (NHS) and private healthcare services. Overall, the standard of patient care across both the public and private sectors is excellent, with most people experiencing very few issues and recovering from illnesses and surgeries as planned.

That being said, this high standard can sometimes slip (as it can with anything), and on occasion, the care you receive might even be negligent. Hospital negligence is extremely serious because it can cause lasting emotional damage, physical damage and even death. With this in mind, if you have a negative experience whilst receiving medical attention that results in additional complications, it’s important that you take action and complain.

If you’re wondering ‘how do I complain about hospital negligence?’, you’re certainly not alone. At OH Parsons, our team are experts in medical negligence cases and can guide you through the process of making a complaint. Whether you were treated at an NHS hospital or a private hospital, the notion of complaining can seem daunting and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.

In this blog, we’re going to explain more about how you can start the medical complaint process and stand a good chance of winning your case, so read on if you’ve suffered medical negligence.

What is Hospital Negligence?

Before you can make a claim for hospital negligence, it’s important to understand what hospital negligence is and whether or not the care you received would be classed as negligent.

In short, if your condition is made worse by receiving the wrong treatment, delayed treatment or bad quality treatment, this could be a case of medical negligence. When you seek medical help, you expect to get better, not have your condition made worse by those who you should be able to trust. Medical providers have a duty of care, and when things go wrong, it is you, the patient, who will directly experience the damages.

Due to the scope of the procedures carried out in hospitals, numerous things can be determined as medical negligence. For context, we’ve put together some examples of issues that commonly see hospital complaints being made.

  • Complications from surgery
  • Childbirth complications
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Incorrect medication
  • Delayed treatment
  • Needle-related injuries
  • Contraction an infection such as MRSA

This isn’t an exhaustive list of what may be classified as medical negligence, so if you don’t see an experience similar to what you went through on the list above, don’t worry. Get in touch with our team and we’ll be able to advise you further.

Of course, medical negligence doesn’t just relate to physical health; mental health services are also considered primary care services, and therefore can be negligent. So, if you experience this kind of negligence, don’t assume you aren’t covered for this just because it’s not on most public clinical negligence lists.

Who Can Claim for Hospital Negligence?

No matter your age, you can claim for hospital negligence. If your child experienced negligence, or if a loved one is unable to make a claim themselves, you can claim on their behalf. We may need to speak to the person you’re claiming for to gain their consent for you to navigate the complaints process on their behalf, but we understand this isn’t always possible. Don’t worry if this is the case – we may still be able to help you make a complaint.

How Do I Complain About Hospital Negligence?

Many people are intimidated by the prospect of making a hospital negligence complaint, especially against the NHS because of the generally excellent standard of care it provides. That being said, wherever negligence happens, it’s important someone takes accountability. Medical negligence can cause lasting damage to a person’s health and daily life, sometimes resulting in the need for additional care, issues with working and a potential loss of income for the foreseeable future. At its worst, it can be fatal.

Hospitals have processes in place to deal with negligence claims, so don’t feel like you’re putting them out by starting the process. Before you commence with a complaint, though, it’s important to keep in mind that medical negligence claims can take years to settle.

With this in mind, here is a brief overview of the hospital complaints process.

Commencing the complaint

There is a time limit in place when it comes to making a complaint: three years from the date the negligent incident took place, or three years from when you started to notice the effects of medical negligence. The only time the three-year limit doesn’t apply is in the case of children under the age of 18, or if you’re making a complaint on behalf of someone else who no longer has full mental capacity.

If you’re nearing your three-year limit, please get in touch with our team so we can take action within the legal window.

Contacting the health service ombudsman

Not every complaint to a hospital starts as a legal issue. In fact, most people use the complaints process already in place:

NHS service and primary care services complaints

If you’re complaining to the NHS directly, you will need to contact the NHS Resolution service that is responsible for handling NHS related complaints. You could go to your NHS service provider directly, but the recommended way of making public health services complaints is to follow the NHS Resolution complaints procedure.

Private treatment complaints

Private hospitals will usually have a complaints process similar to the NHS Resolution service. To find out how to access it, get in touch with the medical facility you were treated at and request information on their complaints procedure.

Going through the above process for both NHS services and private facilities will not result in compensation. Instead, it will give you an explanation of what happened and why the care you received was carried out in the way that it was. You can use this information later on if you want to go down the legal route, so it’s handy to have this to bolster your case.

Another option is to make a complaint to the health service ombudsman, or contact your local clinical commissioning group if you’re unhappy about the response you got from your healthcare provider (NHS or private). However, like the complaints processes above, this won’t result in compensation. Instead, a complaints manager will seek to establish what happened and why – not necessarily resolve the issue through compensation.

If you’re still unhappy with the response you receive, you may wish to contact Citizens Advice, or start legal proceedings.

Finding a hospital negligence lawyer and seeking compensation

Once you’ve made the decision to take the legal route, you’ll need to find a reputable lawyer. Hospitals have comprehensive legal teams, and the burden of proof is on you to prove negligence, so it’s important that you have legal representation if you want to win your case.

At OH Parsons, we have a team of hospital negligence specialists who have years of experience in helping patients make a claim for negligent medical treatment. Give us a call to see if we can help you with your case.

If we can, we will follow medical negligence protocol which involves:

  1. Getting permission to access your medical records
  2. Writing a formal letter of claim to the relevant hospital
  3. Waiting for an investigation to take place at the hospital and an official response to be sent through
  4. Negotiating out of court as an early resolution if they admit fault
  5. Conductive alternative dispute resolution and negotiations
  6. Starting litigation if no agreement can be reached

As mentioned, this process can take a long time from start to finish, but the ultimate goal is to always stay out of court where possible and come to an agreement as early as possible so that you receive the compensation you deserve and the care you need.

Make a Hospital Negligence Complaint Through OH Parsons

It’s not always straightforward when it comes to winning a hospital negligence case; investigations need to be conducted and the level of care you require has to be carefully considered by everyone involved. That being said, at OH Parsons our clinical negligence solicitors are among the best in the field, and have a proven track record in helping people like you to win their case.

So, if you’ve suffered unjust harm as a result of medical negligence, we can help. Contact us to find out more about how we can help you present the strongest possible case and get the compensation you deserve.

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