Clinical Negligence - About
What is clinical negligence?
Clinical negligence is when healthcare professionals physically or mentally hurt you because of the standard of health care they gave you.
There are two parts of clinical negligence:
- The care or treatment you got from a health service was not good.
- You were physically or mentally hurt from the treatment or care.
Negligence can be by:
- an individual healthcare professional, such as a psychiatrist, or
- a healthcare service, such as a mental health team.
Below are some examples of negligence.
- Doctors did not notice symptoms of possible mental illness.
- Your hospital discharged you too early which ended up causing you harm.
- Your mental health did not give you the right treatment and this caused you harm.
- Your doctor gave you the wrong medication which had a bad effect on you.
You can make a clinical negligence claim about both NHS and private treatment. Clinical negligence is also called ‘medical negligence’.
You may be able to make a claim if a family member has died because of negligence. You can claim:
- bereavement damages of up to £12,980 if your husband, wife or child (if they were under 18) has died, and
- for ‘loss of dependency’, if you were financially dependent on the person who has died.
The NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) deals with clinical negligence claims. There is more information about the NHSLA here.
What is the difference between clinical negligence and making a complaint?
When you make a clinical negligence claim you are asking for money to compensate you for harm or injury you experienced. You will not get the following things.
- An apology
- A change in practice
- Any action against a healthcare professional such as suspension or being dismissed from work
If you want anything other than compensation you should consider making a formal complaint.
You can find more information about ‘Complaints’ here.
You can make a complaint and a clinical negligence claim at the same time.
What are the time limits for making a claim?
There is a time limit if you want to make a clinical negligence claim. You must start the process:
- within 3 years of when the negligence happened, or
- within 3 years of the date that you realised that your injury was because of the treatment.
If you cannot make decisions about making a claim this is called lacking mental capacity. If you lack mental capacity you can make a claim up to 3 years after you have capacity.
You can find more information about ‘Mental capacity and mental illness’ here.
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