GP Negligence Claims

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What is GP Negligence?

All UK residents are entitled to the services of an NHS General Practitioner (GP). GPs are doctors who usually work in the community, in the sector known as primary care. If for any reason you feel that you have undergone any malpractice, you may be entitled to start GP negligence claims for compensation against your GP.

After completing medical school, doctors training to become GPs must complete specialist post-graduate training while working in hospital areas such as obstetrics and gynaecology, psychiatry and general medicine. They train to treat all common medical conditions and to recognise when patients should be referred to hospitals or other types of healthcare services, for specialist and emergency treatment. GPs also have a role in health education and preventative medicine.

However, GPs are not confined to working in primary care settings: some provide cover sessions in hospitals or work as part of a team in Urgent Care and Accident and Emergency. They may also provide services to schools and nursing homes.

There are currently around 42,000 GPs in England (according to NHS Digital) of which 34,000 are full-time posts. In the UK alone there are over 1.3 million GP consultations each working day. Since the NHS reform to the GP contract, GPs are no longer required to work out of hours. Instead, all GP practices are linked to an out-of-hours service, which provides cover outside the normal working day.

Standards of care

The Royal College of General Practitioners operates two schemes to assess the care standards of GP practices. A practice may be awarded the Quality Practice Award if it provides ‘exceptional care’, while it may receive ‘Practice Accreditation’ if it provides a wide range of ‘safe, high-quality and responsive care’.2

Every patient has a right to good quality health care which is based on best practice guidelines. You should receive drugs and treatment that are appropriate to your condition and which are recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

However, despite guidelines, quality awards and extensive training, GPs can and do make mistakes. Sometimes these mistakes rise to the level of medical negligence. To establish that a GP has been negligent, it must be shown that:

  • There was a duty of care
  • That duty of care was not met
  • Due to this breach of care, harm was caused

Cases of medical negligence cover all aspects of GP care, some of which make the national headlines.

When care falls short of expected standards

According to the Medical Defence Union which provides insurance for around 50% of GPs (the other insurer being the Medical Protection Society) claims for misconduct and poor practice are rising. The most common conditions that GPs missed or took too long to diagnosis included cancer, infection, ectopic pregnancy and fracture.

Stephanie Prior, Head of Medical Negligence has acted for hundreds of patients affected by poor and negligent practice by general practitioners.

Inappropriate prescribing

More than 450 elderly patients died in the Gosport War Memorial Hospital as a result of being given unnecessary painkillers. Dr Jane Barton was a GP who provided clinical assistance in the wards affected. She was responsible for prescribing high dose diamorphine, through a syringe driver, which was inappropriate for the clinical conditions of the patients involved. She carried out this dangerous practice over a 12-year period. However, senior consultants who were ultimately clinically responsible for the patients were aware of her inappropriate prescribing and did nothing to intervene. Sadly, nurses raised their concerns but had been warned off. Had the hospital acted on these concerns, lives could have been saved.

A previous inquiry into the matter found that there was, ‘an institutionalised regime of prescribing and administering dangerous doses of a hazardous combination of medication not clinically indicated or justified’.3 In April 2019, police launched a new inquiry and relatives are hopeful that criminal charges will be brought against culpable staff.

Failure to refer to hospital

There are also cases when a GP fails to refer a patient to hospital in a timely manner or at all. If a failure to refer is deemed negligent and has led to injury, loss and damage then a claim can be investigated.

How to complain about GP Negligence

You have the right to make a complaint about the service you received from your GP, either in person, by letter or by email. You have several options which can be escalated if you are not satisfied with the response, including your local Primary Care Trust or health board. You also have the options of referring your complaint to the GMC.

If a duty of care was owed to you and a breach in that care led to an injury, you could have a claim for compensation against the attending GP for medical negligence. At Osbornes Law we have a specialist team of solicitors who can help you decide whether or not you have a claim for medical negligence and advise you how to go about making that claim.

Our Promise to You

  • We will review your potential claim by advising you on the NHS complaints procedure or other alternative procedures if your case does not relate to NHS care and treatment.
  • Our GP Negligence claims solicitors will not charge a fee for our time in reviewing your case.
  • Our GP Negligence Lawyers can assist you with any issues that you may have regarding the complaints procedure or that you encounter in obtaining copies of your medical records.
  • We will advise you of the course of action in respect of your case

Speak to us about a GP Negligence Claim

For a free initial conversation call 020 7485 8811

Email us Send us an email and we’ll get back to you






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