What Is Clinical Negligence In Health And Social Care?

By Megan Webster. Last Updated 13th January 2023. In this guide, we’ll explore what clinical negligence in health and social care is. All medically trained healthcare professionals have a duty to provide their patients with the correct standard of care. For that reason, if they fail to meet the standard that could be reasonably expected causing you further or avoidable harm, clinical negligence may have occurred.

clinical negligence in health and social care

A guide on clinical negligence in health and social care

There are various types of harm a patient could suffer following an incident of medical negligence. For instance, you could suffer physically or psychologically and in some cases, a person could experience death.

If you have evidence to prove that a medical professional caused you further or avoidable harm after providing a substandard level of care, this guide could help. We’ll explore the process of making a medical negligence claim, including the evidence you’ll need to support your case.

Furthermore, our guide will look at the compensation you could receive and what your settlement may comprise.

We have aimed to provide the information you need. However, if you have any questions, such as, how long does a medical negligence case take, please get in touch with our team. An advisor can provide further clarification on anything of which you’re unsure.

Additionally, they could assess your claim and if they find it’s valid and has a chance of success, they could connect you with our panel of medical negligence solicitors.

To find out more, you can:

  • Call us on 0800 408 7825
  • Use our online contact form
  • Use our live chat function below to speak with an advisor.

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Duty Of Care In Social Care – What Is It?

To be eligible for compensation, you must prove that medical or clinical negligence caused you harm. However, you may be wondering, ‘what is clinical negligence?’.

Clinical or medical negligence is when the standard of care has fallen below the correct level. There is a duty of care in social care, hospitals and GP surgeries that all medical professionals must adhere to. This is regardless of whether they work in the private or public healthcare sector, such as:

  • Doctors.
  • Dentists.
  • Pharmacists.
  • General Practitioners (GP).
  • Nurses.

As part of their duty of care, they must ensure that you receive the correct standard of care. If a healthcare practitioner breached this duty of care, causing you to become unnecessarily harmed, you could make a claim.

However, it is important to note that not every instance of harm will lead to a claim. If a medical professional, such as a doctor, can prove that they took all the necessary steps and provided you with what they believed was the correct treatment based on your symptoms, yet you still suffered harm, you might not be eligible for compensation.

Feel free to contact one of our advisors today if you are unsure whether you are eligible to claim compensation.

How Could Clinical Negligence In Health And Social Care Affect You?

Every medical negligence case is different and the severity of the harm and how it impacts you will vary. Additionally, the type of harm you sustain will differ depending on the situation. For instance, you could sustain physical and psychological harm.

As the harm you could sustain will vary, the compensation you receive will depend on your unique circumstances.

However, medical evidence and reports will be taken into consideration as a way to accurately value your claim.

For more information on how the severity of the harm you sustained could be factored into your compensation, call our team.

 What Could Cause Clinical Negligence In Health And Social Care?

There are many types of clinical and medical negligence cases that could occur due to a medical professional breaching their duty of care. For instance:

  • Dentist Negligence: You may have visited the dentist to have a decayed tooth removed. However, the dentist may have incorrectly extracted the wrong tooth. As a result, you may have suffered further harm in the form of delayed treatment on the decayed tooth. Also, you may have sustained an additional injury after having the wrong tooth unnecessarily removed.
  • Surgical errors: A surgeon may have incorrectly performed a caesarean section by cutting too deeply. As a result, the patient may have sustained a perforated bowel.
  • Misdiagnosis: A doctor may have incorrectly diagnosed you with a sprained ankle despite you exhibiting clear symptoms of a fracture. As a result you may have received insufficient treatment causing you to develop ongoing complications such as issues with mobility.
  • Delayed treatment: A doctor may have diagnosed you with a mild cough despite you exhibiting clear signs of a chest infection. As a result, you may not have received any treatment for your illness. This may have caused you to develop pneumonia due to delayed treatment of your original condition.
  • Medication errorsA nurse may have distributed the wrong medication to patients in a care home. As a result, the patients may have been given the wrong prescription that was not meant for them causing them to sustain harm that could have been avoided.

If you have experienced a similar incident or would like to discuss another form of clinical and medical negligence in the health and social care sector, call our team.

Who Could You Claim Against?

Following an incident of clinical negligence in the health and social care sector, you may wish to know who your claim will be directed against. Generally, who your claim is made against will depend on who is responsible for the negligence that caused you harm.

If the incident of medical negligence occurred in a private institution, you may make your claim against the facility or medical professional. However, this may depend.

Alternatively, if the further or avoidable harm you sustained occurred in an NHS institution, you could make your claim against the NHS.

We have explored this in more detail in the following section. However, if you have any questions regarding your claim, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Claims Against The NHS

You could first make a complaint against the NHS, by following the complaint procedure of the NHS facility where you received care.

However, if you don’t receive an appropriate response, you could put forward a claim.

There are potentially different reasons why you may want to make a claim against the NHS. However, it’s important to be aware of the role NHS Resolution may play when you’re seeking compensation.

NHS Resolution is a body of the Department of Health and Social Care that provides advice to the NHS. They advise on how to resolve concerns and disputes that have been raised, as well as claims that have been made for negligence.

Additionally, NHS Resolution aims to ensure claims are handled fairly and compensation is awarded where necessary. They also aim to learn from any mistakes to prevent them from happening again in future.

For more information on the process of making a medical negligence claim, get in touch with our team.

How Do I Prove I Was Impacted By Clinical Negligence?

There are steps you could take before putting forward your claim following an incident of clinical negligence in the health and social care sector.

These might include:

  • Gathering medical evidence: The evidence you obtain might include results from scans or other tests or photographs of the harm you experienced. Also, medical records could provide details on the treatment and diagnosis you received.
  • Attending a medical appointment: You may be required to attend an independent medical assessment which can produce a report on your current condition. The report can highlight the long term impact your condition has had on you and the extent to which it’s affected your quality of life.
  • Seeking legal advice: Speaking to a solicitor who has experience handling claims similar to your own could benefit you. They can help you gather relevant evidence and organise for you to attend a medical assessment in your local area.

Whilst medical evidence can highlight whether a medical professional took reasonable steps to provide you with the correct care, it may be considered alongside the Bolam test.

The Bolam test involves a group of healthcare professionals trained in a relevant field of medicine assessing your case. They will look to see whether the medical professional treating you provided the correct standard of care.

Calculating Claims For Clinical Negligence In Health And Social Care

As part of the claims process, your settlement may comprise general damages. These provide compensation for your physical and psychological injuries.

However, the medical negligence compensation awarded to you will depend on the nature of the harm you have sustained following medical negligence. For instance, medical evidence may be used to determine the following:

  • Severity
  • Future implications
  • The effect on your quality of life

Additionally, the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) may be used to help value your claim. The JCG is a publication that sets out example compensation brackets for various injuries.

The table below includes example compensation brackets.

Injury Additional details Amount
Injuries Affecting Sight (a) Cases of complete blindness and deafness. In the region of £403,990
Bowels (a) The person may have experienced double incontinence with a loss of natural bowel function and total loss of urinary function. Up to £184,200
Brain damage (c) Moderate (iii) – The person’s concentration and memory may have been affected. They will also experience a small risk of epilepsy. £243,060 to £90,720
Bladder (c) A person’s control over their bladder may have been severely impaired causing pain and incontinence. £63,980 to £79,930
Asthma (a) Severe permanent asthma, that is disturbing sleep, severely impacting physical activity and enjoyment of life as well as restricting the person’s employment prospects. £43,060 to £65,740
Kidney (b) One kidney has been lost with other not being damaged at all. £30,770 to £44,880
Kidney (c) Where one kidney has been lost and the other hasn’t been damaged. £28,880 to £42,110
Spleen (a) The person may have lost their spleen and experienced a continued risk of internal infection due to a damaged immune system. £20,800 to £26,290
Hernia (a) Continuing pain persisting after the hernia has been repaired. There will also be a limitation on physical activities. £14,900 to £24,170
Digestive System (b)(iv) Cramps, diarrhoea and disabling pain will persist for a few weeks. £910 to £3,950

Please only use these figures as a guide because your actual settlement will vary.

For instance, your claim may also comprise special damages which allow you to seek reimbursement of any financial losses provided you have relevant evidence. These might include loss of earnings if you have been unable to work while recovering from the harm you sustained.

For more information on what you could claim following an incident of clinical negligence in the health and social care sector, call our team.

Call Our Team To Find Out About Clinical Negligence Solicitors

You could seek legal representation under a No Win No Fee agreement. This allows you to hire a solicitor to work on your case without needing to pay a fee upfront.

If your claim is successful, a legally capped success fee will be deducted from your compensation. You will be made aware of the fee before your solicitor begins working on your case. Furthermore, if your claim fails, you won’t pay the success fee.

Our panel of solicitors operate on this basis and could take your claim if it’s valid and has a chance of succeeding.

Please call our team on the details below to find out more about the steps you could take following clinical negligence in the health and social care sector:

Our contact details

  • Telephone: 0800 408 7825
  • Online form: Contact our team by filling out the form with your query.
  • Live chat: Speak with an advisor on the live chat feature below.

Helpful Links

Below, we have provided some external resources you might find useful. We have also included some additional guides that may help.

We hope our guide on how to claim following an incident of clinical negligence in the health and social care sector has helped. For more information, call our team on the number above.

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