What is Clinical Negligence?

In the United Kingdom, we are very fortunate to have the NHS. Most of the time, hospital experiences will be positive and patients are taken care of very well. However, this does not mean that things cannot go wrong. In fact, on some occasions, clinical negligence can occur. Let’s take a look at this subject and what exactly is meant by clinical negligence.

Understanding Clinical Negligence

Clinical negligence is when you are hurt, whether this is physically or mentally, by a healthcare professional. You did not receive a good standard of care and as a result, you were injured. In particular, the medical professional should have known better in the situation.

The following scenarios are examples of clinical negligence:

  • You are given the wrong diagnosis
  • A professional made a mistake during an operation
  • The wrong drug was administered
  • Informed consent was not sought prior to treatment
  • You were not aware of the risks associated with a treatment

Legal Action

If you believe that you have be injured because of negligence that you have received during medical care, you may be able to bring legal action. This can involve receiving compensation for the experience that you have had. In addition, it is possible if you are next of kin to bring a medical negligence claim for the treatment your loved one received.

It is always best to think carefully about bringing a clinical negligence claim. This can be a distressing process, which will mean that you have to relive your experience. In addition, it is essential to understand that bringing legal action will only result in compensation. The court will not be able to discipline a doctor or other healthcare professional nor will it change the way a hospital operates.

You case will be assessed on the balance of probability. There is a need to demonstrate that the treatment you received was negligent. In other words, the treatment fell below acceptable standards in the medical world. In particular, this negligent treatment caused your injury.

Bringing legal action against the NHS is a serious matter and should only be reserved for the most serious cases. Therefore, making a complaint may be more appropriate for your situation. This will be discussed later so that you can make the right decision for your experience.


As previously mentioned, you may be entitled to compensation as a result of suffering from clinical negligence. The compensation amount that you receive will depend on the injuries or losses you have suffered. For example, you can receive money for your pain and suffering, as well as the loss of earnings you have experienced due to your injuries. It is possible to claim for psychological damage, equipment you need, adaptation of your property and ongoing treatment.

Legal Claims have a Time Limit

It is important to realise that your clinical negligence claim does have a time limit. In other words, you only have a specific period of time to bring your case before you will no longer be able to claim for compensation.

The time limit for clinical negligence currently stands at three years. It is essential that you start your legal claim before in this time frame. This means it is recommended that you speak to somebody offering professional legal advice as soon as possible. While this may not be something you want to think about straight away, it can help to get the process going. Clinical negligence claims can last a long time due to the complexity of investigations. Therefore, it is best not to wait until the last minute to bring your legal claim forward.

Making a Complaint

There are going to be situations where making a complaint will be more beneficial to the patient than bringing a case for clinical negligence. For example, if you have not been happy with your treatment or how a professional has treated you during that time, it may be best to put in a compliant.

A complaint is normally better for minor problems that you do not want compensation for. Your complaint may help others realise that they could have done better in a situation. A complaint might help them improve for the future.

Complaints to the NHS should be made within a year. Otherwise, it will be difficult to respond to your experience. Make sure that in your complaint, you detail what happened to you and how you felt during the experience. You may also want to state what you expect the outcome to be from your complaint.

You can send your complaint through an online form. In addition, you can complain to a member of staff in person or by telephone. It is also possible to share your experience through an email or by writing a letter. It is best to choose a complaints procedure that makes you feel most comfortable.