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How can you complain about inadequate NHS care?

When you seek the help, support and guidance of an NHS professional, you rightly expect to be in a safe pair of hands – relying on professionalism, knowledge and expertise.

But sadly, human experience shows that all too often things can go wrong. This can be due to a whole range of individual scenarios – for example lack of training, lack of care, lack of services and facilities, lack of time or sometimes simply human error.

The impact of these can often be catastrophic and have severe implications.

If you find yourself in this situation you need support and advice to show you which way to turn – guiding you through the minefield of jargon, bureaucracy, red tape and often mountains and mountains of correspondence and paperwork.

So what exactly happens when an issue with NHS treatment leads to the need for you to complain?

All patients are encouraged to try and resolve complaints directly with the service provider, before matters escalate to full-blown legal proceedings.

There are a number of mechanisms you can use to do this.

Firstly, the NHS has devised the PALS system – Patient Advice & Liaison Service. This was set up to assist patients and their families to make complaints about health-related issues and to resolve concerns about NHS care.

Secondly, the NHS Choices Website – http://www.nhs.uk/choiceintheNHS/Rightsandpledges/complaints/Pages/AboutNHScomplaints.aspx –    provides an outline of the complaints procedure for NHS bodies. The NHS provider is then obliged to address any concerns you have about the treatment you’ve received.

If you’re still unhappy with the response you receive, you can escalate your complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman – a body which carries out independent investigations into complaints about Government departments. This organisation has recently published the “Ombudsman’s Principles” which brings together guidance on principles for good administration, good complaint handling and remedy. These principles include:

  • Getting it right.
  • Being customer focused.
  • Being open and accountable.
  • Acting fairly and proportionately.
  • Putting things right.
  • Seeking continuous improvement.

Unfortunately, the routes highlighted above sometimes all fail and the only recourse left to you is to seek financial compensation with assistance from legal experts.

Neil Hudgell Solicitors employ a team of clinical negligence specialists who can advise and assist you through the process. Our recent cases include:

  • Securing £15,000 compensation for an elderly diabetic patient after a hospital failed to adequately care for her causing her to suffer severe pressure sores.
  • Securing £15,000 compensation for a publican after doctors failed to X-Ray his broken wrist.
  • Securing £8,000 compensation for a man whose jaw was fractured during routine dental surgery.
  • Securing £5,000 compensation for a mother who was burnt by medical equipment as she underwent an emergency caesarean section operation.

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