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How do I make an effective complaint about negligence within the NHS?

The National Health Service has a system to deal with patient complaints about their treatment and the first point of contact should be the NHS trust, health authority or general practitioner responsible for the treatment. This organisation is legally obliged to have a complaints system in place and to investigate your complaint promptly and objectively. Complaints must be made with six months of the incident occurring or within six months of its effect becoming apparent, as long as this is not later than 12 months after the incident.

Early settlement of the complaint

This will usually result in a meeting with the organisation involved with the aim of an early settlement of the complaint. There is also a system of appeal if you are not satisfied with the response but it should borne in mind that the NHS complaints system is intended to prevent litigation and will not apply if you intend to take legal action. Moreover, even if an apology is received from the doctor involved, this does not constitute proof or an admission that medical negligence has occurred.

Can you make a claim?

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    It’s a sad fact that many hospitals become very defensive if their staff make mistakes

    If you do intend to make a claim for medical negligence and seek compensation, then it is essential that specialist medical negligence advice is sought.

    It’s a sad fact that many hospitals become very defensive if their staff make mistakes and getting the evidence to prove that negligence or malpractice has occurred is a job for a legal professional, especially if compensation for the effects of the error is also sought.