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What is medical negligence?

Medical negligence is the term given to levels of care and treatment that fall below an acceptable standard and results in an injury or illness being suffered by a patient. It can also be referred to as clinical negligence or medical malpractice. With a medical negligence claim, it must be proved through evidence supported by specialist medical experts, that there were serious failures in the care and treatment provided to you. It must also be proven that a competent doctor would not have responded in the same way and the errors in negligence led to the injuries that are being claimed for.

All medical practitioners are legally obliged to provide a safe, adequate and reliable level of care to their patients. When this is not provided, and medical negligence occurs, victims are entitled to claim compensation for their suffering and losses. Whether the negligence was caused in an NHS or private setting, the law protects victims of medical negligence and substandard care.

Medical negligence can take the form of misdiagnosis, surgical error, errors in prescriptions, inadequate aftercare and failure to obtain consent for procedures, amongst a host of other actions and inactions. Medical negligence is often determined through using the ‘Bolam test’. This test encourages a full review of the care and treatment provided to determine whether other medical professions in the same situation would have provided the same level of care, treatment or diagnosis offered by the defendant. The test would consider the defendant to be not guilty of negligence if it could be shown that most practitioners in the same situation would have performed in the same way.