Think clinical negligence claims can only be made against medical staff?

Wrong – unfortunately, this is a common misconception.

Contrary to popular belief, there’s a lot more to ‘clinical negligence’ than errors made by doctors and hospitals. It’s a broad term that can be used to describe a wide range of experiences.

Absolutely everyone who works in a health and social care capacity must adhere to strict safety protocols and standards. They all have a duty of care to uphold. And if a professional – of any sort – fails in that duty, and you’ve suffered as a result, you could be entitled to take legal action.

Reckon you could be eligible? Read on to learn more.

What is classed as health and social care?

Generally, ‘health and social care’ is the phrase used to describe the UK’s healthcare infrastructure as a whole – including all services within the public (NHS) and private sectors.

The ‘health’ part refers specifically to services which provide medical care, including the diagnosis and treatment of physical and mental conditions. It’s split into three sectors:

  1. Hospital care – both acute and long-stay.
  • Primary care – non-hospital care such as GP surgeries, walk-in centres, dentistry, opticians, pharmacies, community nursing etc.  
  • Public health – services aimed at preventing illness and improving health.

‘Social care’, on the other hand, refers to services that assist individuals (who are particularly vulnerable) with their daily activities of living. They’re provided by a wide range of organisations and agencies and are there to help with basic activities such as feeding and hygiene, as well as maintaining independence and enabling them to play a fuller part in society.

Anyone employed as a health professional within this infrastructure has a duty of care and accepted standards that they must observe. If they deviate from those standards, for whatever reason – causing you any kind of harm in the process – you could be entitled to clinical negligence compensation.

Clinical negligence solicitors at St Helens Law

Here at St Helens Law, clinical negligence is one of our specialist areas.

To cover the diverse range of issues that can (and do, unfortunately) arise, we have a large team of clinical negligence solicitors at our disposal – who have unrivalled knowledge and experience in litigating cases, across all areas of health and social care.

Most clinical negligence cases fall into one of the following categories:

GP negligence

This includes any instance in which a GP has failed to comply with guidelines set by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). Cases can vary in severity, from the doctor not taking your symptoms seriously enough to incorrect diagnosis and prescription of the wrong medication.

Hospital negligence

Just as you might expect, this includes cases in which the patient has received substandard care or delayed treatment in a hospital setting. The most common examples include medication and surgical errors, neglectful care, anaesthetic complications, misdiagnosis and infections (such as MRSA).

Birth injury negligence

A large percentage of all clinical negligence claims are brought against obstetrics.

Claims can be made for birth injuries to the mother and/or infant, whether sustained throughout the pregnancy (e.g. pre-eclampsia), during labour or after childbirth. The most common causes of injury include mishandling, late or wrong diagnosis, incorrect treatment and medical errors.

Dental negligence

This is another broad term, used to reflect everything from the incorrect fitting of crowns to the misdiagnosis of oral cancer. Claims can be brought against dentists, orthodontists, hygienists, dental nurses, oral surgeons etc. when the level of care provided was substandard and caused suffering.

Optician negligence

This concerns any error or accident made by an optician. Common examples include misdiagnosis (leading to the wrong treatment), failure to diagnose an eye problem, substandard treatment, delayed referrals and mistakes made during laser eye surgery. And the repercussions can range from being relatively mild, such as headaches and dry eyes, to incredibly severe (i.e. sight loss).

Care home neglect

Experiences of care home neglect can take many forms, including physical, psychological, sexual, discriminatory or even financial neglect. Claims are typically made for trips and falls, handling errors, medication errors, malnutrition, poor hygiene, substandard living conditions and pressure sores.

Start your clinical negligence claim today

Whatever the nature of your clinical negligence experience – whoever was to blame and whatever the severity of your condition or injury – it’s worth getting in touch with our team of specialists.

The most common forms of clinical negligence are listed above – but, of course, there are many others. ‘Health and social care’ is a huge infrastructure within the UK, employing many different types of health and medical professionals in a diverse range of public and private settings.

If you’ve been harmed or have suffered an injury, due to the error or negligence of any health and social care professional, you may be entitled to compensation. And we’re here to help.

Clinical negligence law is one of our top areas of expertise. Not only can we advise on your eligibility to claim, if you wish to go ahead, we can oversee the entire claims process on your behalf – and will do everything in our power to achieve the best possible outcome.

The first step is to contact us.

To arrange a free initial consultation, you can either fill out our online form or send an email to Alternatively, if you have any questions and would like to chat to our clinical negligence solicitors directly, you’re welcome to call us at any time on 01744 742360.