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Medical negligence » GPs and medical negligence

In the UK, we are very fortunate to have a free healthcare system that provides excellent care and assistance to millions of people each year. The NHS funds GP surgeries and hospitals across the UK and nearly everyone will at some time have made use of either one of these public services.

GPs serve their local community by offering vaccinations, giving advice and examination for medical problems, arranging prescriptions and making referrals. Their service is invaluable and they are usually the first port of call for most people when they are feeling unwell.

However, the importance of their service also means that GP surgeries are very busy. GPs will usually see in excess of 100 patients every week and spend an average of 13 minutes with each person.

With this turnover, it is unsurprising that some mistakes are made and a small percentage of patients suffer personal injuries as a result. As people are growing more aware of their rights and GP surgeries are getting ever busier, the number of medical negligence claims being made against GPs is growing each year.

HappyClaim is dedicated to helping people who have been injured as a result of medical negligence. These types of medical negligence claims usually associated with GPs revolve around two main areas: misdiagnosis and prescriptions.


As GPs can be faced with pretty much any illness with every patient they see, their knowledge needs to be very wide ranging in order to be able to make an accurate diagnosis. Unfortunately, their lack of specialisation can mean that sometimes they do not have the necessary expertise to be able to recognise the symptoms of a particular illness.

However, most medical negligence cases do not come about as the result of a misdiagnosis of uncommon illnesses. Most wrong diagnoses happen when a person is suffering from a serious illness which has similar symptoms to a much more common and trivial complaint and the GP makes the decision that the patient is suffering from the latter.

Meningitis is perhaps the most well-known of illnesses such as this. It is fairly commonly misdiagnosed as flu as it shares many of the early symptoms, like a temperature, vomiting and a severe headache. However, if a GP does not diagnose meningitis at the earliest opportunity, it can mean life-changing consequences for the person involved.

The most common childhood misdiagnoses are of the following illnesses: appendicitis, meningitis, diabetes mellitus and a slipped femoral epiphysis. There is a particularly high rate of misdiagnosis amongst children, especially those who are too young to be able to verbalise their discomfort.

Thousands of people choose to make medical negligence claims following a misdiagnosis by their GP which had a serious effect on their well-being and this type of claim accounts for around half of all compensation claims made against GPs.


Even if the correct diagnosis has been made, there can still be serious implications if the wrong medicine is prescribed to the patient.

A GP has to take many factors into account when prescribing drugs in order for them to have the optimum effect on the person. It is extremely important for GPs to select the right medicine for that patients needs because what may be right for one person may not be right for the next.

For example, some patients may have allergies to certain types of medicine, such as penicillin, and may have a serious reaction if they take any pills containing this substance. Alternatively, a person may already be taking one type of medicine and if a new drug is introduced into their system, this may cause an adverse reaction.

A further potential problem of medicines is that of side effects. Many medical negligence claims centre on GPs who have failed to warn people of the possible side effects of taking the medicine being prescribed.

Helping you to get medical negligence compensation

If you have suffered a personal injury as a result of a mistake made by your GP, we may well be able to help you get medical negligence compensation.

We understand that taking the first steps to legal action can be daunting, especially after a period of illness. However, let us reassure you that our friendly team are on hand to provide expert legal help and assistance so if you ever want to ask any questions, we are here.

Our panel of medical negligence solicitors are dedicated to helping you get the best possible result and are extremely skilled in this area of personal injury law. They have years of experience and a wealth of specialist knowledge which allow them to have an excellent success rate.

If you would like more information about getting medical negligence compensation talk to us today or if you would like to enquire about starting a personal injury claim today, please call 01582 437070.