Problems with Medical Care – What Can I Do?
Every one of us is a patient. Since the time we are born, the majority of us if not all, at one point or another during our life will need the care of a doctor, nurse, dentist, or any other medical expert. Although we all know that NHS along with any other medical experts are here to help us and our wellbeing is their priority, like anywhere else errors and mistakes can occur. Therefore, it is not unusual that some of us are disappointed with the level of care we receive. Only a small percentage of the population possesses the necessary knowledge to understand, rather complicated medical procedures. At the same time, it is crucial to remember, that it is our health and wellbeing at stake here, so we may ask ourselves:
- What can I do to understand the treatment I am receiving?
- What step should I take if I believe the treatment, I received was below the standard of care I was entitled to?
- How can I explore the possibility of pursuing a medical negligence claim?
We should fully understand each medical procedure at any stage of our treatment. As mentioned above, not all of us have medical background and knowledge, therefore it is the duty of any medical professionals to explain the treatment we receive, as well as discuss the results of various examinations, or explain the purpose and dosage of prescribed medication. It is very important to remember, however, that we are solely responsible to understand, for example, the risks explained to us when we sign the Consent Form for any medical procedure. It is crucial to ask as many questions so that we are well informed of the risks and complications of any procedure before we consent to it. If there is an issue of the language barrier, medical staff must be made aware of it immediately, you should not hesitate to ask for a translator. If you going to visit your GP, and you are anxious due to your English skills, bring your wife, husband, daughter, or son, whose English is better, to be present during the appointment, so no information Is lost due to the language barrier.
PALS is short for The Patient Advice and Liaison Service. This is a “go-to” service when you seek information, confidential advice, or support on the health related-matters. Local hospitals have PALS officers you can get in touch with if you seek answers for health-related questions, want to make a formal complaint, inquiry about the NHS services, or even support groups outside the NHS. To learn more visit their official website: https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/hospitals/what-is-pals-patient-advice-and-liaison-service/.
Writing a complaint letter is an excellent way to receive an answer in respect of treatment, which in your opinion was below standard. It is important to act promptly while the information is fresh in your mind to state your concerns about the care you received or did not receive. Officially we have a year counting from the date of the visit, surgery, treatment, diagnosis, etc. to do so. In many cases, however, the NHS accepts written complaints that date older than a year from the event.
The letter must have a date and should be addressed to the hospital, G.P. surgery, or any other practice that in your opinion provided care below the standard. Make sure to provide your details such as full name, date of birth, telephone number, home address, email address, and your NHS Number ( each patient has their number, it can be found in any referral letters, GP letters, or hospital documents.)
Provide a short chronological chain of events that led to the neglect. Point out details of what happened which you believe was negligent, whom you hold responsible and why you hold them to blame. Make sure that you set out in detail the extent of your pain, discomfort, and financial loss caused as a direct result of the alleged negligence including details of any physical and emotional distress. Conclude the letter by listing one by one, the concerns that you would like to be addressed.
Finish the letter by asking for acknowledgment of safe receipt of your letter of complaint in the next 14 days from the date on it. Ask also, to be provided with a written response after investigation of your complaint. If you planning to contact a lawyer to pursue a medical negligence claim, it might be beneficial to ask for a copy of your full medical records. We would recommend you to post the letter via recorded delivery, as the information you provide in the complaint letter is private and confidential.
What happens next? Be patient. You should receive a confirmation within 14 days from the date of your letter. The confirmation will also provide you with the details of the person who will investigate your complaint as well as information on how the complaint will be dealt with.
The Complaint Letter is a great tool to address issues you or your loved one may have in respect of the treatment you were unhappy with. It is also a way to receive answers and to shed some light on issues you are concerned with, and even receive a formal apology.
Contact a lawyer
It is as simple as that. When you suspect that you might be a victim of medical negligence, the best way to explore it is to have it investigated by a solicitor who specialised in this type of case.
Here at IMD Solicitors, we have a team dealing with medical negligence claims on a “no win no fee” basis. We are here to listen, we are here to investigate and advise.
To learn more, or to inquiry, you can contact us in English, Polish, Lithuanian, and Romanian, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com, or by telephone (0044) 330 107 0107.
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This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.
Published by: Karol Prokopczuk
First Response Team Supervisor, Medical Negligence Assistant
IMD Solicitors LLP