A complaint and a claim are different things – as well as making a complaint to the hospital and having it internally investigated there is another avenue that patients can explore which is making a clinical negligence claim. That is something that you would normally require help with from a solicitor who is a specialist in this field.
To make a claim means to involve and use the legal system to prove that sub-standard care has resulted in extra harm and injury. This is achieved by obtaining independent medical advice / opinion to support the claim that the care provided was sub-standard. You are not entitled to “gold standard” care, but only a standard of care that would be provided by a reasonably competent practitioner.
For example, if it is alleged that the care provided to you by your GP was sub-standard we would need to instruct an independent GP to review your medical records and to provide us with a report setting out their opinion on the care provided and whether, on the balance of probabilities, the care fell below the reasonable standard and as a result caused injury and harm. If you are successful at showing that this is what has happened, then an award of compensation may be made.
A complaint can be made whether or not injury has resulted and is often very helpful to a claim because it can provide information about the potential claim. However, as a complaint is an internal investigation procedure, it can only provide information and perhaps an apology. A claim, if successful, can result in an award of compensation to the injured patient. Click here for more information on what a claim is and the process of making one.
It is important to note however that it is not essential to make a complaint before you explore whether or not there is a claim. The team at TSP will be happy to talk through a patient’s concerns and assess whether a claim is viable, whether or not a complaint has been made.
Complaints are helpful but they are not essential to a claim. The important thing about making a clinical negligence claim is that legal advice is sought before the end of the limitation period.
To help you understand whether a claim may be possible and to explain the steps in the process the Clinical Negligence team at TSP have put together a comprehensive guide to Medical Negligence claims.
In the guide you will find detailed information about the different types of Medical Negligence claim and what to do if you believe you or a family member have been a victim of Medical Negligence. The guide also provides useful information about the steps in the Claim Process and the different funding options available.