Medical Mistake Claims - Simpson Millar LLP

Is the Denial Letter the end of my Compensation Claim?

Author: Neil Fearn  Bullet  Dated: 27/05/2014

Patients unhappy with their healthcare provision often do not feel that their complaint was dealt with adequately, or the questions they asked were not fully acknowledged. This can lead to feelings of anger, frustration and a lack of redress for the suffering that they have experience as a result of poor medical care. 18% of those surveyed by the Ombudsman said that no acknowledgement of mistakes occurred in the response they received from the hospital they were treated.

I Just Want Them to Apologise

We previously wrote an article about how saying sorry and acknowledging mistakes is sometimes enough for people. In fact, the NHS Litigation Authority, (the people who deal with a claim if you decide to take legal action), has clearly stated that, 'saying sorry is not an admission of liability… it is the right thing to do'. However, in some instances, an apology is never made despite there being no automatic recourse to legal action if an apology is given. Instead, we sometimes find that the whole incident is denied by the hospital.

Although you cannot appeal the letter you received by going through the complaints procedure at the place you were treated, you can refer your case to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman if your complaint is about the NHS.

What Next?

If you have received a final response, completed the complaints procedure and it is less than 12 months since you became aware of the cause of your complaint, you can use the Ombudsman.

Although the hospital or Trust may have denied your claim, this does not mean you cannot go further and seek compensation for whatever harm and suffering they caused you due to their negligence. Going through the hospital complaints process does not get you compensation, and it does not guarantee that any measures promised to you in their response letter will be implemented. Compensation is not only about receiving money; many of the people we represent seek compensation to gain closure on a very unfortunate situation that could have been avoided.

If you do decide to take legal action, which many people do, we strongly recommend you instruct a solicitor. Although it is possible to act as a ‘Litigant in Person’ and represent yourself, the process is long and requires in depth legal knowledge.

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