United Kingdom Medical Malpractice Laws
Each state has their own set of medical malpractice laws in place, and it is important for patients to understand those laws and how they could affect their case. The following are the basics of the laws in United Kingdom.
Unlike the American formerly predominantly private sector health insurance system, UK medical malpractice laws have been dictated in practice via common law cases against the National Health Service since its inception in 1948.
A small fraction of UK medical malpractice laws govern cases emanating from the relatively small percentage of citizens relying upon the more expensive private sector healthcare market. However, as the majority of basic and major medical costs are considered free benefits to UK citizens in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the overwhelming bulk of the population relies upon the state-funded and centrally-operated NHS.
Medical Malpractice in The United Kingdom
Although a formidable bureaucratic entity, the NHS is not immune from claims filed by legitimate patients being forced to endure the fallout from clinical negligence. In fact, thousands of more patients each year seek to file claims against the NHS with the help of a solicitor or legal advocate with a large percentage of cases resulting in settlements or payouts by the NHS for sub-standard, negligent, or inappropriate medical care.
For public claims against care received under the NHS or NHS-affiliated providers, UK medical malpractice laws permit claims to be filed under the following rubric:
- Claims will be made against the National Health Service and if awarded, paid via the budget of the Department of Health.
- Claims payments made by NHS toppled 12,000 claims made in 2013/2014 and had seen a significant increase in the past decade.
- NHS pays out UK citizen claimants billions of pounds annually for claims of clinical negligence made by patients, with the payouts in light of several recent public scandals at the NHS relating to poor-quality care only increasing payout sums over time
- These claims of clinical negligence apply a reasonable standard of care metric per the nationwide NHS clinical standards, which are frequently breached during the course of ordinary care under the NHS healthcare system
- Damages claims for increased health risks, wrongful diagnosis, failure to diagnosis, surgical mistakes, prescription drug errors, and other medical harms sustained by patients are common complaints made against the NHS and its employed medical professionals
- Claims can be filed for NHS-covered dental and vision service providers that fail to provide a reasonable standard of care
For private claims against care received under private medical practitioners in the UK, medical malpractice laws permit claims for compensation to be filed in the following cases:
- Most private clinical negligence claims in the UK fall under breach of contract agreements between the patient and private practitioner
- Most private clinical negligence claims will be subject to the terms of the contract between the patient and provider, though most case-specific contracts outline specific procedures with reasonable standards of care defined by the law and medical experts.
- Claims that possess sufficient merit for compensation include traditional medical services, as well as dental and vision services obtained via private practitioners
- If violated, a solicitor or legal advocate can assist you with moving forward with a claim against a private medical service provider.
To determine without any doubt whether your case of healthcare treatment was in violation of the law and subject to compensation claims per UK medical malpractice laws, consult with a legal advocate or solicitor about your personal case today.