What is GP negligence?
GPs (general practitioners) follow a set of guidelines put in place by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). When these guidelines are not followed, this can result in negligence.
Examples of negligent treatment are:
- Failure to:
- investigate your symptoms
- conduct a physical examination
- arrange the right tests
- make a diagnosis
- prescribe the correct medication
- properly consider your relevant medical history
- refer you to a specialist within a reasonable period based on your symptoms
- follow up on your medical treatment and re-assess your condition
- Misinterpretation of test results
Your GP has a duty of care towards you, and if this care is below standard, you could be entitled to claim compensation.
How is a negligence claim proved?
A medical negligence claim (also known as clinical negligence) requires four elements to be established:
- Duty of care - The GP clearly owes a duty of care to the patient.
- Breach of duty - This includes misdiagnoses, delayed diagnosis, errors with treatment and causing illness due to poor working practices.
- Causation of injury – It is necessary to prove that as a direct result of the negligence or breach of duty, an injury has been suffered whereby there is a direct link between the action or inaction of the GP causing the injury or, in some instances death.
- No legal defence – There is a legal defence to a medical negligence claim which is known as the Bolam test. This is where a doctor is not liable if a substantial body of reasonably skilled doctors in the same field of medicine presented with the same information and situation would have acted in the same way.
Medical negligence claims are complex, in relation to which our specialist solicitors at Davisons will gather and assess evidence to determine whether it is likely there has been negligence, and a compensation claim can be pursued.
What evidence is needed to assess and support a case?
Evidence could include:
- Medical records (with your permission)
- A report from an independent medical expert
- Witness statements from you, your family and friends about how your life has been impacted
- Documentary evidence of financial losses you have suffered and will suffer in the future
If negligence has resulted in the death of a loved one, a copy of the death certificate, the Will or Grant of Probate, the post-mortem report, and details of an inquest (if relevant) will be needed.