NHS hospitals generally provide an undeniable level of care towards their patients. However, if you believe you or a family member has been the recipient of negligence in hospitals while using NHS services, then you may be eligible to make a claim against the NHS and glean compensation. This guide will help to explain the basics of hospital negligence and what you can do to make a claim.
What is Hospital Negligence?
Hospital negligence is defined as any ill practice against you or a loved one while under the care of NHS hospitals that was caused by the negligence of hospital employees. It cannot be claimed against any GP practitioners or individual surgeons. Hospital negligence can vary, but the most common causes include undertrained or unknowledgeable staff, unsanitary facilities, a lack of staff and out-dated or broken equipment. These factors can then cause poor health effects such as worsened illness, transmission of infections, or an injury on hospital premises.
What Evidence Do You Need?
You, the claimant, will need to provide the necessary evidence for the claim. You will need to prove that the care that you received was well below the standards of NHS healthcare, and you must be able to provide evidence of how your worsened medical state was linked to the malpractice of medical employees. You must provide proof that the NHS committed a breach of care and harmed you either physically or mentally, or that you have had a financial loss from their actions. You can prove most claims through your medical records, and two tests – the Bolitho and the Bolem test – will be conducted to compare your care with that of other practitioners and normal standards.
How do You Make a Claim?
You should bring a claim against the NHS at least three years after the negligence was made. It is best to make a complaint before you sue the NHS. You can make a complaint through the NHS Hospital Trust or primary care practice where the treatment was received. If you are not happy with the response you receive, you can make a complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
To further your claim, you should contact a lawyer and solicitor first to discuss your case; they will be able to advise you on whether your case is strong enough to take on and what evidence you may need to provide. They can then guide you as to the process of gaining compensation, which costs the NHS more every year. However, most claims made against the NHS are resolved without going to court, and so it is highly unlikely that a legal battle will ensue after you make your claim.
Hospital negligence claims can be distressing for the claimant. However, in most cases, a lengthy legal battle is unnecessary. Instead, if you are looking to make a hospital negligence claim, you should discuss your options with a lawyer as this will help to establish whether you are eligible to make a claim.