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Medical negligence » Making a complaint

An estimated 850,000 medical accidents happen each year and many people feel dissatisfied with the service that they have got from their hospital or GP.

If you believe that you or a close family member suffered medical negligence under the National Health Service (NHS), you can make a complaint against the hospital or primary care practitioner by whom you were treated.

An informal complaint

The complaints procedure starts at the local level. A complaint against your hospital or GP will normally be dealt with quickly and on a relatively informal basis so that a resolution to the problem can be made with the minimum of fuss. This is a path that can be very successful for people who have only a minor issue with the treatment they have received.

If you are not satisfied with the informal resolution of your query, you will need to make a more formal complaint.

A formal complaint

To register a formal complaint about clinical negligence by an NHS doctor or other member of medical staff, you must complain again to the hospital or GP with whom your grievance lay. This complaint must be received either in writing or orally, in which case it will be taken down in a written record by the complaints manager.

If you have made a complaint to a GP, you should receive an answer within 10 working days whereas if you have complained to an NHS organisation, an answer should be expected from the Chief Executive within 20 working days.

NHS Foundation Trust

If you wish to complain about medical negligence that occurred at an NHS Foundation Trust, a slightly different method of complaints may apply. Complaints procedures tend to be trust-specific so it is best to contact the trust which you believe is responsible for the negligence to find out about making a complaint to them.

Independent case review

If you are dissatisfied with the response you have got to your complaint at either an NHS Foundation Trust or through the standard local NHS complaints procedure, you can request an independent review by the Healthcare Commission.

To find out more about making a complaint about NHS clinical negligence to the Healthcare Commission, please go to: http://www.healthcarecommission.org.uk.

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

If the independent case review fails to resolve your complaint, it is possible to complain to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is an independent body that investigates poor service and improper actions by the NHS and other government departments.

To find out more about complaining to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, please go to http://www.ombudsman.org.uk.

Support services

Many people find that they do not know how best to make complaints and find the process confusing. There are two bodies that are able to give you free advice and information in this situation, which are named PALS and ICAS.

PALS, which standards for Patient Advice and Liaison Service, is represented in every NHS Trust and Primary Care Trust. It can provide information on making a complaint, help to resolve problems, and give details of other support groups that you may find to be useful.

To find out more about PALS, please see: http://www.pals.nhs.uk.

The Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS) provides a support service to those making complaints about the NHS, including clinical negligence complaints. Although ICAS will not investigate the complaint, it can otherwise help by providing interpreters if English is not your first language and giving you details of appropriate agencies that may be able to provide further aid.

To find out more about ICAS in your region, visit http://www.seap.org.uk

Getting medical negligence compensation

If you believe you have experienced medical negligence either at the hands of the NHS or by a private health provider, we may well be able to help you get personal injury compensation.

At HappyClaim, we provide a sensitive and understanding service to people from all over the UK, helping them to make successful clinical negligence claims.

Our personal injury solicitors are considered to be some of the most skilled and knowledgeable in the field of medical negligence and are able to maintain an exceptional success rate in their cases. When you come to HappyClaim, you can have peace of mind in knowing that your personal injury claim is in the very best hands.

Although the prospect of claiming medical negligence compensation can seem daunting or confusing, we try to make it as simple as possible. We are always happy to talk through the claims process with you and we are here 24 hours a day if you ever have any questions.

If you wish to find out more about what HappyClaim can do for you after medical negligence talk to us, send us a call back request for any time of the day in regards to your personal injury medical negligence claim on 01582 437070.