Bulletins

Medical negligence complaints procedure

October 01, 2016

One of the most common reasons for contacting a solicitor is when a patient of a GP or hospital has not obtained a satisfactory explanation for what has happened to them.  Although there is an established complaints procedure it has many failings, and our experience that patients are not getting a good enough apology is confirmed by recently released figures.

Our clients often want an explanation of what has happened to them and a full and frank apology where things have gone wrong.  They are clearly not getting this in many cases.  There is very often delay in investigating complaints on the part of those responsible for treatment.  As resources become increasingly stretched, hospitals in particular fail to comply with time limits for investigation and response, and one of our local Trusts appears in a recently published list of those with the highest number of investigations per clinical episode. 

When a response is produced it may fail to address the issues of concern and do little more than express regret for the fact the patient has been left dissatisfied.  This can be in breach of the duty of candour, being a legal duty on a hospital, community or mental health trust to inform and apologise to patients if there have been mistakes in their care that have led to significant harm, introduced after the Mid-Staffordshire enquiry.  There is also concern that hospitals are not learning from risks identified in complaints and subsequently taking appropriate steps to tackle those risks.

We can assist in putting together complaints, in seeking to ensure full and accurate responses are obtained, and, where appropriate, in obtaining a full apology.  We also regularly advise on the consequences of lack of communication with patients, delays and errors in diagnosis, and poor treatment. 

If you believe that you or a member of your family has suffered as a result of medical negligence, please contact us on 0117 239 8012, or email us by using the online contact form and we will be happy to discuss your potential claim with you.

References and further reading:

Website content note: This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

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Medical negligence complaints procedure

Gillian Clark

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