Have you suffered avoidable harm because of a negligent doctor? If so, you may be wondering how to report a doctor’s negligence and whether you could take action so that you could be compensated for the harm you’ve suffered. In this guide, we will explain how to report a negligent doctor, who you could report them to, and how you could take action against a GP or hospital doctor, whether they are working for the NHS or practising privately.
In addition to this, you can find useful information regarding the time limits for making a claim for medical negligence, as well as how much compensation you could look to receive for the harm you’ve suffered. We hope you find the information in the sections below useful. If you have any queries or would like a free eligibility check to see if you could be entitled to claim compensation, you can call our team on 0800 652 3087.
Jump To A Section
- A Guide To How To Report A Doctors Negligence
- What Is Doctor Negligence?
- How To Know If Your Doctor Acted In A Negligent Way
- Reporting Negligent Doctors To The General Medical Council
- How To Report Negligence By A GP Surgery
- How To Report A Negligent Doctor To The NHS
- How To Report A Negligent Doctor To The NHS Ombudsman
- Patient Liaison And Victim Support
- Evidence To Show Your Doctor Acted Negligently
- Time limits To Claim Against A Negligent Doctor
- What Can I Claim? – Calculating Compensation For Negligence By Doctors
- No Win No Fee Claims Against Negligent Doctors
- Contact Medical Negligence Assist
- Helpful Links
When you visit your GP or the hospital for check-ups, advice, diagnosis or treatment, you would expect to receive safe, effective care. However, if your doctor is negligent in their treatment of you, it could cause you more problems with your health. Whether you have suffered a misdiagnosis, received the wrong prescription, or been harmed due to another act of clinical negligence, the consequences could affect you mentally, physically and financially.
If you been harmed by medical negligence, you may have some pressing questions regarding how to report a doctor’s negligence. Whether you’re looking to complain about a GP or report a hospital doctor, this guide offers actionable advice on what action you could take both to complain about the medical negligence you’ve suffered and to claim compensation for the avoidable harm you have suffered because of it.
Before we take a look at how to complain about a doctor, we should first define what doctor negligence is.
In simple terms, negligence by a medical professional is substandard care that has been provided to a patient, which has caused their medical condition to worsen, or has led to an injury being caused. There are many ways in which this could happen, and whether you’ve suffered due to mistakes in surgery, a misdiagnosis, or incorrect treatment, you may be wondering ‘where do I report a doctor for negligence?’ and ‘what steps could I take to claim compensation?’. You will find answers to both questions in the sections below.
Sometimes, you might have been harmed during medical care due to something that would have been unavoidable. Sometimes, it can be difficult to diagnose certain illnesses, and in some cases, treatment effects could vary from patient to patient. However, if your doctor acted negligently and this led to you suffering harm that could have been avoided, you may be able to complain, and you could also claim compensation.
Types Of Negligence By Doctors
There are various types of negligence that could prompt a patient to look into how to report a doctor’s negligence. These could include:
- Negligent Misdiagnosis, Missed Diagnosis, Delayed Diagnosis
- Malpractice leading to injury
- Prescription errors
- Unnecessary surgery
- Failure to refer for further investigations
- And more…
If you are unsure as to whether you are a victim of negligence, we could provide a free eligibility check of your case and could provide you with free advice on whether you could claim compensation.
If you want to raise concerns about a doctor and their negligent treatment of you, it may be appropriate for you to report a doctor to the General Medical Council (GMC). The GMC will investigate those allegations they could suggest a doctor may need to have their practice stopped or restricted. Situations that could lead to you a report to the GMC could include, but are not limited to:
- Serious mistakes/repeated errors in patient care
- Failure to respond to the needs of patients (this could include not referring patients for further investigation when it would have been appropriate for them to do so)
- Indecency or sexual assault
- Dishonesty or fraud
- Serious criminal offences
- Abuse of their professional position
- Breaching of patient confidentiality
- Concerns about the knowledge of the English Language
You can report a doctor to the GMC via this link. Information required will include the name of the doctor, the nature of your concerns, your details and any other supporting information that could support your concerns.
How Will The General Medical Council Investigate Your Concerns?
The General Medical Council will take certain steps when investigating concerns about the fitness to practice of a doctor. They will let the doctor and their employer know that they are starting an investigation and will collect evidence, forms of which could include:
- Documentary evidence – such as medical records
- Statements from witnesses
- Reports from experts
- Assessment of the specified doctor’s performance
- Health assessment of the doctor
- Language assessment of the doctor
Evidence will be collated and reviewed and the outcome will either lead to the GMC taking action or dismissing the complaint. If, before the investigation is concluded, the GMC feels it appropriate, they could ask for the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) to issue temporary sanctions in place to stop the doctor from practising freely while they are being investigated.
Steps Taken Against Doctors By The General Medical Council
There are various steps the General Medical Council could take if the results of the investigation deem it appropriate for action to be taken. Actions that could be taken could include:
No action – where efforts have been made to ensure mistakes are not repeated/there are no risks to patient safety/there is a lack of evidence to support claims
Sanctions – these could include warnings, undertakings (where a doctor works with the GMC to ensure improvement in the way they work)
Hearings – The GMC could refer a doctor to the MPTS, to decide what action could be taken.
What Action Could The MPTS take?
The MPTS could issue:
- A warning
- Undertakings (as mentioned above)
- Conditions on the registration of the doctor
- A suspension on their registration
- A striking of the doctor from the medical register. This means they would no longer be able to practice
If you’d like to know how to complain about a GP surgery, the first thing you may want to do is ask for a copy of the complaints procedure to make sure you are following the correct steps for your complaint to be dealt with most effectively.
It would be wise for you to keep a record of the complaints and any contact you have with the GP surgery regarding your complaint. You could write down the times, dates, details of any calls, and the people you have spoken to about your complaint. You should keep records of any letters they send you too, so you can refer back to them if you need to, or if you’re intending on claiming compensation, you could provide them to your lawyer.
If you’re wondering how to complain about a GP or GP Surgery with regards to what information to include, you may want to ensure that the following information is provided:
- Who or what you’re complaining about
- Your version of events
- What you would like in response to resolve your complaints
- How they should contact you with regards to your complaint
According to the NHS Constitution, your complaint should be investigated properly and you should receive acknowledgement of receipt of your complaint within three working days. You should also receive details of the outcome of the investigation into your complaint.
Sometimes, you might not want to complain directly to your GP surgery or hospital directly. If you’d like to know how to report a doctor’s negligence to the NHS, there is a wealth of information on their website to help you do so. The method of complaint could differ depending on which NHS trust you are complaining about. In general terms, if you reside in England, NHS England would deal with your complaint, whereas if you reside in Northern Ireland, Wales or Scotland, they would deal with your complaint.
If you are wondering how to report a doctor when you are unhappy with the response from the NHS or the GMC, you could consider complaining to the NHS Ombudsman. This is a free to use service that is entirely independent of the NHS. The ombudsman could help to resolve complaints and could let the NHS know how they should work to put things right if the decision they make is in your favour. However, the legal powers that the ombudsman has are limited to certain types of complaints, and you must be in receipt of a final response from a GP surgery or hospital trust before they could get involved in helping you. You only have limited time to complain to the ombudsman too. If you are wondering how to complain about a GP or hospital doctor to the ombudsman, NHS advocacy could assist with providing forms to fill in where appropriate.
If you’re wondering how to complain about a doctor and get support with making such a complaint, you may be interested to know that there is support available for your through the GMC. When you raise concerns about a doctor, and the GMC decide that your concerns merit investigation, they will invite complainants to talk with them about the process at one of their offices – and reasonable costs for travelling to their offices, which are based in Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Belfast and Manchester could be reimbursed. You could take someone with you for support to this meeting if you feel it would be helpful. There is also an independent support service that you could benefit from. The service is free, and you can connect you with specialist support services.
Just like with personal injury claims, where a personal injury solicitor would help to collate evidence and build a case up against a liable party, a medical negligence lawyer would need proof of the negligence you’ve suffered and the harm that it has caused you in order to pursue a claim. The evidence that may be appropriate in such claims could include:
Your original medical notes – your lawyer could request a copy of the medical notes pertaining to your care.
A statement from you – it may be useful for you to write down everything that has happened to you so that you could provide a statement of evidence to your solicitor. This would involve explaining what has happened to you and how it has affected you.
An independent medical report – as part of your claim you would have to undergo a medical assessment with a doctor that was independent of the case. They would look at your notes, examine you and provide a medical report detailing your medical condition and your prognosis.
Your lawyer would have to prove that ‘but for’ the negligence you’d suffered, you would not have suffered the harm that you did. This evidence could help them to do so.
As well as how to complain about a doctor, you may be wondering how long you may have to make such a complaint and claim compensation for the avoidable harm you’ve suffered because of medical negligence. Just like the personal injury claims time limit, there is a limitation period that applies to medical negligence claims. You would usually have three years to make a claim, but this three-year period would only begin once you were made aware that you’d suffered avoidable harm as a result of clinical negligence.
If, for example, you found out while undergoing routine surgery that a mistake had been made in a previous surgery, that had caused you harm, you could have three years from the date you found out about the mistake and the damage it had caused you, rather than three years from the original surgery.
There are some exceptions to this limitation period, however. If you are claiming on behalf of a child, for examples, you could have until their 18th birthday to make a claim. Some other exceptions could also apply where the injured party did not have the mental or physical capacity to claim within the limitation period, for example. If you are unsure as to whether you could still report a doctor to the GMC or claim for compensation, please do not hesitate to call us and we could then advise you.
When you are claiming compensation for injuries suffered as a result of medical negligence, your general damages would be calculated to work out the ‘cost’ of your pain, suffering and loss of amenity. This would require medical evidence, which would have to be issued by an independent party. You would be expected, as part of any medical negligence claim, just like with a personal injury claim, to undergo a medical appointment with an independent doctor, who would review your medical notes, examine you if necessary and write a report detailing your condition and your prognosis. This medical evidence could be used to give a value to your claim.
As such, it would not be possible for a medical negligence or personal injury claims calculator to provide you with an accurate figure for compensation for any injury claim. However, one of the frequently asked questions surrounding clinical negligence claims is ‘How much compensation could I claim?’, so to give you an idea of this, we have taken some of the figures from the Judicial College Guidelines that relate to injuries we believe could be relevant to this sort of claim, and displayed them below. The Judicial College Guidelines is a publication that is updated yearly and could be considered a useful resource when determining compensation amounts for medical negligence claims in England and Wales. However, we should reiterate that these are still only approximate sums.
If your injury does not appear in the table, this does not mean you would not be able to claim compensation for clinical negligence. We can provide clarification on approximately how much compensation your injury could attract if you call our team.
|Type of Injury||Guideline Award Bracket||Notes|
|Infertility, caused by failure to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy||£31,950 to £95,850||Significant complications could lead to a payout at the top end of this award bracket.|
|Hernias||£13,970 to £22,680||Injuries that limit physical activities, sport and employment, even after the hernia has been repaired.|
|Kidney Loss||£28,880 to £42,110||One kidney lost with no damage to the other.|
|Bladder control impairment||£60,050 to £75,010||With pain and incontinence.|
|Lung diseases||£29,380 to £51,460||Frequent use of inhalers would be required by the injured party. Their future prognosis would be uncertain, but there would be marked effects on social/working life.|
|Injury causing damage to the lung.||£2,060 to £5,000||With complete recovery with no complications.|
In addition to the compensation you could receive for the suffering, pain and loss of amenity caused by your injuries, you could also receive special damages, which are designed to compensate you for financial harm you’ve suffered directly because of your injuries. These financial expenses could include, but may not be limited to:
Loss of earnings – You may be required to take some time off work to recover from the injuries you’ve suffered. If this is the case, depending on how your employer approaches sick pay, you may lose out on some of your income. If you do, these losses could be compensated for as special damages. We should mention that if you are unable to return to your job because your injuries are too severe, future losses could also be compensated for.
Care costs – If your injuries have meant you were unable to wash/dress yourself or complete other vital daily tasks, you may have needed someone else to care for you. If so, care costs could be included within your claim.
Medical expenses – Whether you have paid for prescriptions, counselling, physiotherapy or other medical costs relating directly to your injuries, you could include these as special damages.
Travel expenses – Trips to the hospital for treatment or to see your medical negligence lawyer as part of your claim could be included as special damages. Or, if you have had to change the way you travel to work because you were unable to carry on driving due to your injuries, transport costs to work could also be included within your claim.
You would need to provide proof of any costs or losses you’ve experienced because of your injuries in order to claim for special damages. This is why it is critical to keep documents such as payslips, bills, receipts and bank statements as evidence. If you cannot provide evidence of the costs you’ve incurred, then you would not be able to claim for them.
One of the great things about our service is that we could connect you with a No Win No Fee medical negligence solicitor to help you with your claim. A clinical negligence or personal injury lawyer working on a No Win No Fee basis would not require you to pay them anything upfront to begin your claim. They would simply ask for a small success fee (which is legally capped) that you would pay to them out of your eventual settlement once they had successfully negotiated you a payout. This would be documented in a Conditional Fee Agreement, which you would be required to sign at the beginning of your claim.
If your solicitor did not manage to get you any compensation, you would not have to pay them a success fee, as long as your claim was a valid one. You would not have to cover any of the costs your lawyer has incurred while fighting your case either.
Claiming compensation for NHS negligence or negligence from a private doctor could involve quite a lot of paperwork and you may hear legal terms that you are unsure of throughout the process. Having someone on your side to guide you through the claims process, explain any legal terms you may be unfamiliar with and deal with the hard work of fighting for compensation could be of real benefit in these cases.
Here at Medical Negligence Assist we pride ourselves on offering free, no-obligation advice and eligibility checks for those who would like to know how to report a doctor’s negligence and claim compensation for the avoidable harm suffered because of clinical negligence. We could also connect you with a No Win No Fee solicitor who could begin your claim for you with no fees upfront and nothing at all to pay until your compensation settlement has been achieved.
Whether you are now considering beginning a claim for compensation, or you have more questions on how to report a doctor’s negligence we would be happy to help. Whether you’d like us to assess your case to provide advice tailored to your specific circumstances, or you’d like to go ahead and start your claim, it’s easy to get in touch with us here at Medical Negligence Assist. You can call us on 0800 652 3087. Alternatively, you could complete our contact form and one of our advisors will get back to you. Alternatively, there’s a quick and easy Live Chat feature you can use to ask any questions right away. With free advice and eligibility checks just a phone call or message away, why not get in touch with us today?
I Want To Claim Hospital Compensation – Our guide to claiming compensation against a hospital doctor could be useful.
How To Make A Compensation Claim Against A GP Surgery – Here, you can find our guide to claiming compensation against a GP or GP surgery.
Claiming For Private Doctor Negligence – Here, you can read more about claiming for private doctor negligence.
Getting Support – GMC Complaints – This page from the General Medical Council shows what support you could get while you make your complaint.
NHS Claims Information – Here, you can read a publication from the NHS about claims they’ve handled in 2017/18.
How To Complain About The NHS – Here, you can find a government guide on complaining about the NHS.
Written by Jo
Edited by Lis.