When you get ill your GP is usually your first port of call. Many patients rely on their GP to either make the correct diagnosis or to at least make the correct decision to refer the patient to further medical assessments. GP medical negligence could potentially derail the diagnosis and treatment for a patient and put them at risk of worsened health.
GP medical negligence is a failure to meet the standards expected of a doctor, and a failure to meet the duty of care owed by doctors to their patients. You could be eligible to make a compensation claim if you have been the victim of medical negligence by a GP and can show that the substandard care you received caused you to suffer more than you needed to.
If you want to find out if you could be eligible to make a compensation claim, or if you want to ask questions about the page you have just read, you can get in touch with us through the following methods.
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- What Is GP Medical Negligence?
- Does A GP Have A Duty Of Care?
- Causes Of Medical Negligence By A GP
- Types Of GP Negligence
- Negligent Diagnosis Of An Illness Or Injury
- Negligent Treatment Of An Injury Or Illness
- Who Could My Claim Be Made Against?
- Is There A Time Limit On Making A Medical Negligence Claim?
- GP Medical Negligence Claims Calculator
- No Win No Fee GP Medical Negligence Claims
- Start Your Negligence Claim
- Statistics On GP Negligence
- Read These Guides Next
- Medical Negligence Claim FAQs
A General Practitioner has a duty of care over their patients. A GP may not have the resources at their disposal or the expertise necessary to treat every single patient they see, but they do have a responsibility to at least refer you to a specialist who can provide a correct diagnosis. Referring the patient to a relevant specialist can mean the correct tests and scans are prescribed that can lead to a diagnosis. Misdiagnosing a patient, or failing to take the correct steps towards a diagnosis, because the GP deviated from professional standards can be considered examples of GP medical negligence.
A GP may be able to provide treatment for certain types of illnesses and injuries by prescribing medication or applying treatment themselves. If they do, this treatment should be correct and effective. Providing negligent incorrect treatment or attempting treatment that they do not have sufficient expertise to carry out could harm the patient. This could also be an example of GP medical negligence.
A GP has a duty of care over those who seek their services and attend their surgery. A GP is bound by the medical standards that all medical professionals are held to. The requirements are to:
- Provide safe, effective, and quality care for their patients
- Keeping their knowledge and training up-to-date
- Have good communication with their patients
- Treat their patients with respect and honesty
- Never engage in discrimination with their patients
- Never violate their patient’s trust.
Violating these principles could endanger the health and wellbeing of their patients. If negligent practices harm patients they may have cause for a compensation claim for medical negligence.
There are different degrees of culpability when it comes to medical negligence.
- Contributory negligence
Contributory negligence is a situation in which there is a degree of shared responsibility between the claimant and the defendant. It means that the claimant has partially contributed to their own injury. In a GP medical negligence case, the claimant could have some contributory negligence by failing to go to the GP with your symptoms sooner or failing to take prescribed medication correctly for example.
- Vicarious liability
Vicarious liability is the liability that one party has on behalf of another party. Cases like these could include situations where an employer is liable for the actions of an employee. The NHS could have vicarious liability for the actions of a hospital doctor in a vicarious liability claim.
- Gross negligence
Gross negligence is the most serious kind of negligence. A case involving gross negligence could go to court and a doctor found responsible could be stripped of their medical license.
A GP will have numerous different responsibilities and is held to high professional standards. This means that there are a variety of different potential scenarios that could arise wherein a GP is responsible for medical negligence. GP medical negligence could occur as a result of a failure to abide by the principles outlined in the section above.
Negligence can arise from the deviation of proven procedures or omissions. Medical professionals have to abide by their professional standards. Although there are different ways patients can be treated these treatments and care provided must stay in the realm of proven practices.
It may not always be clear if a doctor or nurse has breached their duty of care. For this reason, the Bolam test is sometimes used. This asks peers of the same standard and similar profession whether the treatment the doctor provided is of an acceptable standard. If they agree it is likely that medical negligence has not occurred.
A GP has responsibilities for both diagnosing and treating a patient and their symptoms. Negligence of a GP could lead to a missed diagnosis or misdiagnosis. Both misdiagnosis and treatment negligence could cause significant harm to the patients’ health in their own right in addition to delaying the patient’s recovery.
A misdiagnosis may mean a patient is diagnosed with a condition they do not have. This can lead them to receive treatment and medication they do not need. Whilst their condition may be left to worsen because they are not receiving the treatment they need the medication prescribed could be causing harm that would not have otherwise occurred
A GP is often the first doctor that a patient sees when they seek medical treatment. Often a patient will come to a GP to find out what the symptoms they are experiencing represent. The GP’s job is then to examine the patient and attempt to diagnose the patient’s illness. If the GP is unable to do this with a reasonable degree of certainty, they should refer the patient to a relevant specialist.
A doctor can act within their professional standards and adhering to their duty of care but a misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis could still occur. However, this may not mean the doctor has been negligent. If the doctor arrived at the misdiagnosis because they acted in a negligent manner breaching their duty of care this could amount to medical negligence.
To prove a misdiagnosis occurred because of medical negligence you must provide evidence showing how the doctor failed to adhere to standards expected of them. This in turn will have caused your condition to worsen or a new injury that could have been avoided occur.
A patient even with an accurate diagnosis could suffer avoidable harm if the incorrect treatment is provided. Incorrect treatment could be ineffective in helping the patient to recover, thus allowing the patient to be harmed as a result of their condition worsening. In other situations, the wrong kind of treatment itself could inflict harm.
Incorrect treatment could inflict harm through its side effects, such as the side effects of a prescription. Patients could be affected by a prescription of medication that causes the effects of an overdose. They could also be affected by a medical allergic reaction due to the GP failing to ensure that the patient is not allergic to certain kinds of medication, such as penicillin for example. We have a guide to medication allergic reaction claims if you want to know more about them. We also have a guide for those who have been affected by being given the wrong medication.
GP’s do not tend to provide treatment other than medication. But if they are required to it is vital that they act within their own capabilities and do not try to carry out procedures they have no training on. As with other forms of medical negligence, it could impact the patient by either failing to treat the patient’s condition, or it could make it worse.
Medical professionals can include; doctors, nurses, dentists, dental nurses and so on and so forth. Who you make a claim against will depend on certain factors. If your treatment was through the NHS a claim would be made against the NHS, usually a trust. The claim would be directed to NHS Resolutions. If you receive private healthcare then you could sue the doctor or the practice owner. Other kinds of medical negligence claims can include;
- Pharmacist medical negligence claims
- Midwife negligence claims
- Physio or occupational therapists
- Nurses care negligence
There is a three-year time limit to making medical negligence claims. This time limit will normally start from the date that the GP’s medical negligence took place. However, in many cases, it will not necessarily become apparent until some time after that negligence has occurred. In such cases, the three-year time period will extend from the date you became aware of the negligence and its consequences. You can read the following article for information about time limits for suing the NHS and the following article to find out how long does a medical negligence claim takes.
If you were unable to start a claim on your own behalf, for reasons of mental health for example as outlined in the Mental Capacity Act 2005, a litigation friend could start one for you. Or else you could make a claim once you have recovered. With the standard time limitation period from the date, you became legally competent again.
If a person under the age of 18 suffers from medical negligence, their parents or a litigation friend can begin a claim on their behalf. They have the right to make their own claim once they are 18. From that point on they have the three years until they turn 18 as a time limit to start the claim.
In each individual compensation claim case there needs to be a calculation done to work out what amount of compensation is appropriate to claim. Compensation needs to be matched to the degree of harm you suffered as a result of medical negligence. That means that you could be awarded more compensation the greater the number and degree of factors impacting your health and your financial situation.
Compensation for harm done to your physical health is referred to as general damages, compensation awarded for damage done to your financial situation is known as special damages. A breakdown of how these calculations are made is below.
The impact on your health in and of itself could be grounds for compensation. Compensation is calculated to reflect the financial equivalent value of the injury. This may be done by referencing the severity of the illness or injury against guidelines written by the Judicial College. The more severe the damage is, the more you could receive.
The length of your recovery, the pain you experience, and the degree of long-term disability are all factors that are included. The table below shows figures from the JC.
|Female Reproductive System||Infertility that occurs due to the failure to diagnose ectopic pregnancy||£31,950 to £95,850|
|Female Reproductive System||Failed sterilisation procedure that results in unwanted pregnancy - no serious psychological impact||In the region of £9,570|
|Female Reproductive System||A delay in diagnosing ectopic pregnancy where fertility is not affected. The award depends on the extent of pain, suffering, bleeding, mental impact etc||£3,180 to £19,170|
|Illness||Serious but short-lived illness caused by infection - diarrhoea and vomiting that diminish over two to four weeks, some discomfort may remain||£8,950 to £18,020|
|Illness||Resulting in significant discomfort, stomach cramps, fatigue, and altered bowel function - full recovery within a year or two||£3,710 to £8,950|
|Illness||A varying degree of severe pain and diarrhoea that continues for days/weeks||£860 to £3,710|
|Arm||Complete loss - amputation on wrong patient||Not less than £128,710|
|Spleen||Accidental removal - continuing risk of internal infection and disorders caused by damage to immune system||£19,510 to £24,680|
|Mental anguish||Fear of impending death or reduced life expectancy||4380|
|Psychiatric Damage||Problems experienced, but marked improvement and a good prognosis||£5,500 to £17,900|
|Leg||Simple fracture to the tibia or fibula||Up to £11,110|
The effects of GP medical negligence can cause you to lose money. You could lose money by having to pay additional medical costs, such as paying for medication or using a private medical provider. You could also lose income as a result of taking time off work to recover. Any additional costs such as public transport costs for travelling to hospital appointments, or money lost from cancelling plans can also be compensated.
To fund your solicitors’ services you could either make fee payments upfront or you could make a medical negligence claim with a No Win No Fee solicitor. The former could be expensive and could leave you in debt if the claim isn’t successful. Making a claim using a No Win No fee agreement to fund your medical negligence solicitor is often adopted by many claimants.
A No Win No Fee agreement means that your solicitor will be entitled to a portion of your compensation if your case wins. If you don’t get awarded compensation, you will not have to pay legal fees to the solicitor. It is a safer and more affordable option for making a claim for many.
The first step towards making a medical negligence claim is to contact an advisor. Speaking to an advisor about your situation can help you to find out whether or not you could be eligible to make a compensation claim. You can reach our advisors in the following ways:
If our advisors think you could be eligible to claim they can put you in contact with a No Win No Fee medical negligence solicitor.
NHS Resolution deals with tens of thousands of litigation claims every year made against the NHS. The cost of settling claims in 2019/20 was £2.3 billion. Maternity negligence dominates the high cost of claims for the NHS.
71% of settlements for NHS negligence are made before the case goes to court. Only 0.6% of cases are decided by the outcome of a trial.
Can I Sue my GP for negligence?
Your GP has a duty of care. If they fail to meet this duty of care they could be liable for any harm that occurs as a result of this negligence. If you want to know more about whether you could be eligible to make a claim in your circumstances you can contact our advice team for a consultation.
How much does the NHS pay in negligence claims?
The cost of settling claims in 2019/20 was £2.3 billion
What is considered negligence by a doctor?
Medical negligence is when a doctor fails to upholds the standards and ethics expected of a medical professional. Misdiagnosis, incorrect treatment, neglectful hospital care, and poor treatment can be a result of medical negligence
Can you sue the NHS for negligence?
The NHS can be held liable for negligence that affects its patients. If you have received medical attention and treatment that falls below expected standards you could be eligible to make a medical negligence claim if it can be proven that the substandard of care you received directly caused you harm that would not have usually happened.
Guide by Jack
Edited by LisM.