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Hospital Complaints And Medical Negligence

Hospital Complaint?

How to make a complaint to a hospital.

If you have received treatment and feel that the treatment may have not been carried out correctly, and indeed may have been negligent, you are entitled to make a complaint. However, you need to know what the complaints procedure is so that you can follow it. This article is designed to explain the hospital complaints procedure for you.

Your Right To Complain To A Hospital

The NHS Constitution provides you with a right to complain for treatment you have received or been refused and to receive a full and prompt reply to your complaint.

You have the right to:

  • Have a complaint dealt with efficiently and have it properly investigated
  • Know the outcome of any investigation into the complaint
  • Take your complaint to the independent Parliarmentary and Health Service Ombudsman if you are not satisfied with the way the NHS has dealt with your complaint
  • Make a claim for judicial review if you think you have been directly affected by an unlawful act or decision of an NHS body, and
  • Receive compensation where you have been harmed

How To Raise A Hospital Complaint

When making a complaint, the nature of your complaint will differ depending on your current position (i.e. whether you are in hospital or whether you have been discharged). We will look at each of these in turn.

Procedure For Patients Still In Hospital (informal complaint)

If you are still in hospital and wish to make a complaint, you should ask to speak to the Consultant in charge of your care. You must ensure that the Consultant understands that you are making a formal complaint and that you are expecting him to provide you with answers to your complaint. If the Consultant fails to look into the matter, or does not take you seriously, or investigates but does not provide you with a sufficient response, you should make a complaint to the hospital complaints manager following the Local Resolution Complaints Procedure below.

Local Resolution Hospital Complaints Procedure

If you have received treatment (or believe that you should have received treatment when you did not) then you need to make your complaint to the hospital, general practitioner or other treatment provider in question. You need to request the hospital complaints procedure (each hospital will have one) so that you can discover the correct procedure to follow for the hospital in question.

This will usually involve you raising your complaint (orally or in writing) and the hospital investigating it and sending a reply to you. You may be asked to attend a meeting to discuss your complaint. Once the hospital has investigated it they will provide you with a full response to your complaint. For many people this is satisfactory, however, for those that have suffered a serious injury they are more likely to want to take the matter further.

Help With Your Complaint

You can seek assistance or advice from the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) that are located in each hospital, but they cannot raise your complaint for you. Alternatively you can ask your local Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS) for advice and support.

Time Limit For Local Resolution Complaints

You should raise the complaint within 12 months of the treatment (or lack of treatment) although this can be extended by the hospital in question. It is sensible to raise the matter as soon as possible.

Not Satisfied With Local Resolution Complaint?

If the Local Resolution Hospital Complaints Procedure has not provided you with a satisfactory response you can ask for a review by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO). You can only refer the matter to PHSO if you have raised a complaint with your GP or Hospital and received a full response to your complaint. If this has happened, then the PHSO can provide you with a form to complete to raise your complaint with them.

Medical Negligence Claim

Once you have been through the complaints procedure, if you believe you still have a claim for medical negligence you should seek expert help from a specialist medical negligence solicitor. They will review all of the information that you have obtained and advise you whether you can make a claim for compensation and advise you of the likely prospects of success.

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