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How To Report A Negligent Doctor? – Complaints About GP’s And Hospital Doctor Guide

How Do You Report A Doctor Or GP For Negligence In The UK?

By John Bowes. Last Updated 17th March 2021. In this online guide, we look at how to report a negligent doctor, and also how to make a compensation claim if a doctor has harmed you through medical negligence. Please note though, that if you have used a personal injury solicitor to make a personal injury claim in the past, even though the process of making a clinical negligence claim seems similar, it is subtly different. Please read this guide carefully to learn what these differences are.

how to report a negligent doctor

How to report-a negligent GP guide

Every claim has its own unique set of circumstances. And although we have tried to cover as much as we can in this guide, there may be questions that this guide doesn’t answer for you. In this case, our claims team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0800 073 8804. One of our expert advisors will answer your questions for you and then explain how we can provide you with a solicitor to work on your claim for you.

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A Guide On How To Report A Negligent Doctor

This guide will explain to you the process of reporting a negligent doctor, and also how to ensure that your complaint is addressed and escalated properly if you do not receive an adequate response. We will also touch on how to make a medical negligence claim if applicable. We start this guide by giving a brief introduction to what negligence is that could result in complaints about GPs. However, keep in mind that just as there is a personal injury claims time limit to begin a claim within, there is also a time limit for medical negligence claims. Our team can tell you what this will be if you give them a call.

The main part of this guide is given over to explaining how to prove negligence has taken place, and then how to make a complaint about it. We follow the complaints process through a number of escalations, from complaining to the NHS, moving on to contact the NHS ombudsman, and then finally taking the complaint to the General Medical Council (GMC). We have explained when and how to complain to the GMC, the steps that the GMC might take, and also information on the patient support provided by this organisation.

In the last part of this guide on reporting a negligent doctor, we cover some of the financial considerations that need to be kept in mind when making a medical negligence claim. We have provided an example compensation table that shows possible ranges of compensation for various severities of illness. We follow this up with a list of some of the types of damages that claimants are commonly awarded if they win their claim. Lastly, we will explain to you what a No Win No Fee claims is, how they work, and what the main benefits are of using such a legal service.

If you do need answers that this guide doesn’t provide, getting them is as easy as calling the number at the top or bottom of this page. A member of our claims team will be ready and waiting to answer all of your questions, and also help you to get your claim underway. Alternatively, to find out more about how to report a negligent doctor, please read on. 

What Is Negligence By A Doctor Or GP?

Your GP is the gatekeeper to the rest of the National Health Service (NHS). Your GP is responsible for performing an initial diagnosis and if possible, treating you themselves. If they cannot treat your medical condition, they will refer you to the correct healthcare unit that can. So, when a GP makes a mistake, the results can be catastrophic, even deadly.

According to the NHS Constitution, everyone has the right to make a complaint about all aspects of NHS care (including health care and social care) and NHS services.

Before we can continue with this guide on how to report a negligent doctor in the UK, we have to define what clinical negligence is. We could say that:

Each medical professional has a duty of care to never harm a patient in any way that is not necessary. When a medical professional fails to meet this duty of care, and this results in harm to a patient that could have been avoided, clinical negligence may have taken place.

This is, of course, a simplified definition. The concept of medical negligence and whether it occurred or not can be complex in nature. However, in general, for you to have a valid reason to make a complaint and a subsequent claim the following will all need to be true:

  1. Your GP owed you a duty of care.
  2. The GP made a mistake that meant they had breached this duty of care.
  3. This mistake resulted in you being harmed in some way, with the harm being avoidable had the GP taken alternative action.
  4. You can prove that the harm you suffered would not have occurred without your GP making a mistake.

If you are unsure whether you have been the victim of GP negligence or not, our claims team can help you out. If you speak to one of our advisors and explain what has happened to you, they will let you know whether you have a potentially valid basis to make a complaint.

NHS negligence claims statistics

In 2019/20, NHS Resolutions settled 15,550 claims, both clinical and non-clinical. The majority of these claims (71.5%) were settled without court proceedings. Less than 1% of claims went to trial. The number of claims settled without court proceedings has been in the increase; in 2010/11, it stood at just 64%.

The graph above shows that the number of clinical claims for which damages have been paid has increased greatly in recent years. In 2005/06,  3,566 claims were settled with damages paid; in 2019/20, this number has risen to 7,523. The number of clinical claims settled with no damages paid has also raised, but the increase is not as steep.

how to report a negligent doctor statistics graph

Clinical negligence claims statistics graph

How Do I Know If My GP Or Doctor Acted Negligently?

Before we explain how to complain about a doctor’s surgery or how to report a negligent doctor, we need to take a look at how you can know that you have been the victim of medical negligence. In some cases, it can be difficult to see the line between clinical negligence and unavoidable hazards of treatment.

Your GP is the expert and you trust them to take care of your health. This is because in general, a patient doesn’t have a very good knowledge of medicine. So, when you come to harm at the hands of your GP, it is hard to know whether the GP has made a mistake or whether the harm was a natural hazard of the treatment you have received. In the section below, we will look at some of the forms that GP negligence can take. However, to get a definitive answer of whether you may have been the victim of medical negligence, speak to one of our claim advisors today.

Categories Of Negligence By Doctors

Some of the forms that clinical negligence could take include:

  • A misdiagnosis (wrongful diagnosis).
  • A delay in making the right diagnosis.
  • Medical negligence injures a patient.
  • Administering unnecessary or wrong treatment.
  • Administering the right treatment wrongly.

These are just a few examples of negligence, there are more.

How Do I Prove My Doctor Acted Negligently?

Once you know how to report a negligent doctor, what happens when you file a complaint against a doctor? Well, much depends on whether you can prove that your GP has acted in a negligent manner. This means proving the harm you suffered would not have occurred if the GP had not taken the action they did. Put simply, the GP must have caused the harm you suffered, with no possibility of the harm being caused by something else.

You may need to use the services of an impartial medical professional to build a case and prove that negligence took place. If you would like some help and advice on how to go about this, please speak to our claims team today.

Contact The NHS In Your Region

You can complain about a GP in the UK to the NHS. The first thing to do is to follow the complaints procedure of the surgery. You can ask to see a copy of the procedure the surgery itself follows related to complaints. You can then follow this procedure to make your formal complaint about the surgery. NHS complaints need to contain the following information:

  • The event that you are complaining about.
  • How the event happened and the key dates.
  • What you would like to see as a resolution to your complaint.
  • How the NHS can get in touch with you.

The NHS must acknowledge your complaint within three days of it being made. The NHS must then investigate it fully. You can make your complaint in writing, in person, or by email. You cannot phone a complaint. 

If you’ve complained to the service provider directly and you’re not happy with the result, you can’t then go on to raise this to the relevant clinical commissioning group (CCG) who are responsible for commissioning service in the area.  However, if you’re unhappy with how the provider has handled your complaint, for example, due to delays you’ve experienced, then you can raise this with the CCG. You can contact your local CCG through this online tool.

If you’d like more details on how to report a negligent doctor, or would like free legal advice around making a claim, please get in touch with us today. 

Contact The NHS Ombudsman To Report Your Doctor

If you are not satisfied with the resolution of your medical negligence complaint that the NHS has come up with, you can take your case further to the Health Service Ombudsman (HSO). This is a parliamentary regulatory body. 

To be able to do this, you must have received the definitive reply to your complaint from the NHS. If it has taken too long to receive this response, the HSO could assist you with this as well. The HSO will generally only look into complaints that are less than 12 months old, although there could be extenuating circumstances that the HSO believes are reasons to look into an older complaint.

If you’re interested in knowing how to report a negligent doctor when the NHS or HSO hasn’t resolved the issue to your satisfaction, please read on to our next section. 

How To Raise A Concern With The General Medical Council

Your final option, if the NHS or HSO has failed to resolve your complaint satisfactorily, is to take the complaint to the General Medical Council (GMC). The General Medical Council is the regulatory body overseeing medical professionals in the UK. When it comes to how to report a doctor to the GMC, you will need to keep the following three things in mind:

  1. Is the GMC the right organisation to approach for help? (for example, it may be appropriate to begin a compensation claim instead of approaching the GMC).
  2. Can the GMC resolve your issue to your satisfaction? In some cases, such as the victim seeking compensation, the GMC would not be the best choice. Instead, the services of a solicitor would be needed.
  3. Can you provide the GMC with everything it needs to look into your complaint? If your complaint has already been turned down due to insufficient information by the NHS or the HSO, then the GMC might not be able to help either.

When And How The GMC Investigate Reports Of Negligence By Doctors

The GMC will only begin an investigation into a doctor’s conduct in certain circumstances. Examples of these kinds of circumstances could include:

  • When repeated, serious mistakes have been made.
  • Not taking care of a patient’s needs properly.
  • Assaulting or sexually assaulting a patient.
  • Fraudulent activities.
  • When a crime has been committed.
  • When a GP has abused their position.
  • Discrimination against a patient.
  • Harassment of co-workers or patients.
  • Filing to maintain patient confidentiality.
  • Serious issues with English communication.

If the GMC does decide to start an investigation, it will start to collect and examine the evidence, such as:

  • Documented evidence such as medical records and test results.
  • Testimony from witnesses.
  • Reports form impartial experts.
  • A performance assessment of the GP.
  • A health assessment of the GP.
  • An assessment of the GP’s ability to speak English.

What Steps Could The GMC Take Against A Negligent Doctor?

If you report a negligent GP to the GMC and it finds that your complaint is valid, then there are certain actions the organisation can take. This starts with interim sanctions that could include stopping the GP from practising medicine until the complaint has been investigated and resolved fully.

  • Once the investigation is complete, if the complaint is upheld, the following actions may be taken:
    • The GP is issued with a warning.
    • The GP must sign a document stating they are undertaking efforts to improve the way they work.
    • A full Medical Practitioners Tribunal (MTB) will be instigated to investigate things further. Which could ultimately, in the worst case, see the doctor struck off.

Victim Support And Patient Liaison

When a complaint about a GP is made to the GMC, the organisation can offer some help to patients who have been harmed. The Patient Liaison Service is responsible for providing this help.

The patient will be able to talk over their complaint face to face with an expert and find out what is going to happen, when and why. The patient will also have all of their questions answered at this time. Once the investigation has reached a conclusion, a further meeting will be arranged with the patient to discuss the outcome.

Having established how to report a negligent doctor, you may be wondering how much you could receive in a compensation claim. If this is the case, then you’ll find our next section of use. 

Doctor And GP Negligence Compensation Claims Calculator (Updated April 2021)

Determining how much compensation a claimant might receive due to clinical negligence is difficult. Each and every case is unique. The table below is based on the Judicial College Guidelines that are used by solicitors and the courts to value cases. It shows potential compensation ranges for different severities of illness.

Health IssueHow Bad?CompensationNotes
IllnessMinor£860 to £3,710A minor illness with symptoms that are uncomfortable. The patient would stay at home during their recovery and the illness can be treated by over the counter medication. It would clear up within a few days to a few weeks.
IllnessModerate£3,710 to £8,950A moderate illness, for example, food poisoning, for which the patient would need to visit a GP to get prespring medication. Symptoms would be uncomfortable or moderately painful, but recovery would occur at home. The main symptoms should clear up within a few weeks, but others may linger for up to two years.
IllnessSerious£8,950 to £18,020A serious illness with painful symptoms. The patient would likely need to be hospitalised initially, and then sent home to complete their recovery. The main symptoms will clear up within four weeks, but there may be ongoing health issues that negatively affect the life of the patient into the long-term.
IllnessSevere£36,060 to £49,270A severe illness with chronic, possible life-threatening symptoms. Emergency hospitalisation will be required, and ongoing treatment would commence, with recovery taking some time. The illness could leave the victim with permanent health issues that could affect them for the rest of their life.
Infertility (Women) £31,950 to £95,850Infertility resulting from failure to diagnose ectopic pregnancy
Infertility (Women) £3,180 to £19,170Where there has been a delay in diagnosing ectopic pregnancy but fertility has not been affected
Kidney damage Severe £158,970 to £197,480permanent damage to or loss of both kidneys.
Kidney damage Substantial Up to £60,050Cases that involve significant risk of future urinary tract infection or other total loss of natural kidney function.
Kidney damage Serious £28,880 to £42,110Loss of one kidney with no damage to the other
Bowels Severe Up to £172,860cases involving double incontinence namely total loss of natural bowel function and complete loss of urinary function and control
Bowels Serious Up to £140,870Total loss of natural function and dependence on colostomy, depending on age.
Bowels Moderate In the region of £75,000Faecal urgency and passive incontinence persisting after surgery and causing embarrassment and distress

You could also be able to use some kind of personal injury claims calculator to get a rough idea of how much compensation you could be able to claim. However, to get a more accurate estimate based on your own unique situation, you will need a lawyer to value your claim for you. If you call our claims team, one of our advisors can start arranging this for you.

Special Damages Claimable In Medical Negligence Cases

When medical negligence or personal injury lawyer is successful in processing a claim, the claimant they have been representing will either be awarded a settlement in court or offered one prior to a trial. This settlement will take into consideration a number of different types of damages. General damages are paid to compensate the victim for the harm, pain and suffering they have encountered. Compensation will be driven by considerations such as the level of pain suffered, the type of treatment administered, and whether there may be long-term symptoms. As examples:

  • Loss of life quality due to long term or permanent disability.
  • Being subjected to invasive treatment.
  • Psychological conditions such as anxiety or depression, for example.
  • General pain and suffering suffered whilst the patient is ill.

Special damages are intended to compensate the victim for ad-hoc and financial losses. When the claimant intends to recoup expenses that have already been paid, they will need to provide some form of documented evidence to prove this spending related to their illness. Other examples include:

  • To compensate for lowered earning potential in the future due to some form of disability.
  • To cover the cost of paying for private medical treatment.
  • Lost salary or wages caused by taking time off work to recuperate.
  • To pay for a nurse to care for the victim at home.
  • To claim back ad-hoc and out of pocket expenses.

It’s possible to recover other types of losses too. Why not get in touch to find out more about how to report a negligent doctor?

No Win No Fee Claims Against Negligent Doctors Or GP’s

A solicitor working under a No Win No Fee deal can provide you with the legal help you need to make a claim at the same time as minimising the financial risk of doing so. You won’t pay a fee to the solicitor to get the claim underway, or while it is processed. If the claim fails, the lawyer will not expect to be paid their fees.

When the claim is resolved successfully, the solicitor will ask the claimant to pay a small success fee. The upper limit of this success fee is legally capped.

Why Choose Our Team When Claiming Against A Negligent Doctor?

Our team of expert medical negligence lawyers has over 30-years of experience in helping victims of GP negligence to get the compensation that they are rightfully entitled to. They know how to report a negligent doctor and what action to take against them. Our solicitors will work their hardest to ensure your claim is won, and that you receive the highest amount of compensation possible.

Start Your Claim

We hope this guide has shown you how to report a doctor who’s acted negligently and how to make NHS complaints. If you think your GP is guilty of medical negligence, then we could be able to help you. Please contact our team on 0800 073 8804. An expert advisor will walk you through our claims process so that one of our experienced solicitors can start working on your claim for you right away.

Essential References

You might like to check these external resources:

Why not consider some of our other guides?

Further Medical Negligence Claims

How to report a negligent doctor- FAQs

What is medical negligence by a GP?

Medical negligence is where the level of care you receive from a healthcare professional falls below the standard you would expect from their profession.  If you experience medical negligence and suffer injury as a result, then you may be able to take legal action.

How can I prove medical negligence?

In order to prove that you were the victim of medical negligence, you need to be able to show that you were owed a duty of care by a doctor, that the doctor breached that duty and that the breach was the direct cause of the injuries you sustained.

What can be included in a claim for negligence against my doctor?

As well as the general damages owed to you for the pain and suffering you experienced, you can also receive special damages. Special damages compensate you for things like the costs of treatment not available on the NHS, travel expenses and loss of earnings if you’ve had to take time off work.

How can I ensure I get the maximum compensation I’m owed?

In order to make sure that the compensation you receive is the maximum amount you deserve, you should keep a record of your injuries. You should also make note of any expenses or financial losses you incur that may be included in special damages.

How much compensation will I receive for medical negligence?

The level of compensation you’ll be entitled to will be based on a number of factors, including how severe your injuries were and for how long they affected your quality of life. The value of special damages will also influence the final compensation amount.

Can I claim for medical negligence on someone else’s behalf?

Yes. If your child has been the victim of medical negligence while under the age of 18, you can claim for them as a litigation friend until they turn 18. At that point, they’ll have two years to make a claim themselves. You can also claim for someone who lacks the ability to do so themselves according to the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

What Is The Process Of Claiming For Negligence By A Doctor? 

Claims for negligence by a doctor can sometimes be complicated and could take longer than other personal injury claims to resolve. In most doctor negligence claims, these are the steps you need to take in order to make a claim. 

  1. Obtaining a copy of your medical records which show your health before and after the incident which caused you harm. 
  2. Get an independent medical assessment of your injury and its cause. This should show causation and liability for your injury. 
  3. A letter of claim can be sent to the defendant. They will then have 4 months to respond to the claim. 
  4. If they admit liability, it may be possible to negotiate a settlement at this stage. If they dispute or deny liability, it might take longer to value your claim and secure a settlement. 

How Much Time Do I Have To Report A Negligent Doctor And Claim Compensation? 

If you intend to claim compensation for your injuries, you will generally have a three-year window in which to make your claim. This will begin either at the point the negligence occurred or when you became aware of any injuries suffered. 

Different time limits may apply to claims brought on behalf of either a child or a person deemed unable to claim on their own behalf.

Thank you for reading our guide on how to report a negligent doctor.

Guide by Wheeler

Edited by Billing

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