By Lewis Winehouse. Last Updated 13th July 2023. If you have had cause to visit your GP, either for a routine health check, or because you have fallen ill, you would expect to receive safe, effective care. If you are showing symptoms of an illness or injury, you would expect your GP to investigate these symptoms and offer the appropriate advice and treatment. A GP has a duty of care towards you, as a patient, and if they are negligent in offering you appropriate advice and treatment, this could cause you to suffer harm. Should you find yourself in the position where GP negligence has caused you avoidable harm, you could consider claiming compensation with the assistance of a specialist GP medical negligence lawyer.
If you are considering making a claim for clinical negligence, a practical guide can be found below. You will find details of situations that could constitute general practice doctor negligence, as well as what harm this could cause you to suffer. Also included is information on the medical negligence claims time limit that could apply to your claim, and details of how common GP negligence in the UK is. If you feel ready to begin a claim or have questions regarding your eligibility to claim compensation, please do not hesitate to call the Legal Helpline team on 0161 696 9685 for advice and support.
Jump To A Section
- What Is Negligence By A GP?
- Types Of General Practice Doctor Negligence
- Missed Diagnosis Claims Against A GP
- Wrongful Diagnosis Claims Against A GP
- Wrong Medication Error Claims Against A GP
- Delayed Diagnosis Or Treatment Claims Against A GP
- What Evidence Can Support A GP Negligence Claim?
- GP / General Practice Negligence Compensation Claim Calculator
- What Could I Claim? – Special Damages In Personal Injury Claims
- No Win No Fee Claims For GP / General Practice Negligence
- Medical Negligence Victim Resources
Before we explain what constitutes doctor negligence in general practice, let us first explain what constitutes medical negligence.
What Is Classed As Medical Negligence?
To claim compensation for medical negligence, you would have to prove the following:
- Duty – The claimant must have been owed a duty of care by the medical professional. If you visit a GP, you are owed such a duty as they are providing professional care to you.
- Dereliction – Any deviation from the proper standard of care or negligence by the GP could be classed as a ‘dereliction of duty’ or a breach of duty.
- Causation – The medical negligence suffered by an injured party would have to have caused them to suffer avoidable harm. The most common legal test for causation would be known as the ‘but for’ test. For example ‘but for the doctor’s clinical negligence, would the harm have been suffered by the injured party?’ This could be quite difficult to prove in medical negligence cases, because you would need to prove that more harm had been suffered by the injured party than that caused by the initial illness/injury they were seeking help with. This is why having an experienced general practice negligence lawyer could be of real benefit to your case. They would have the capability to pull together the evidence that proves this.
GP negligence could take several forms. You might visit your GP with symptoms of an injury and they might be negligent in ruling out a broken bone, for example. If they were unable to rule out such an injury, they should refer you to someone who could. Failure to do so could constitute negligence on their part if you suffer harm because of it.
Another way in which you could suffer harm from GP negligence is if they missed clear symptoms of an illness or injury. If they failed to examine you properly or listen to your symptoms, this could lead to a later diagnosis than that which could have been given, meaning you could suffer harm from a delay in treatment.
Other examples of GP negligence could include:
- Mistakes with your prescription (dosage too high or too low, or wrong medication prescribed).
- Misdiagnosis, where your GP treats you for a condition you don’t have and doesn’t treat what is actually wrong with you.
More detailed information about specific types of general practice doctor negligence can be found in later sections.
There are various types of general practice doctor negligence that patients could consider claiming compensation for if avoidable harm occurs. These could include, but are not limited to:
- Claims for missed diagnosis
- Claims for misdiagnosis
- Claims for delayed diagnosis
- Claims for wrong medication/wrong prescription
These are discussed in more detail in the sections below. If you feel your experience of GP negligence does not fit into these categories, you could still claim if another type of GP negligence has caused you to suffer avoidable harm. Please call us for an analysis of your case. We will be glad to let you know whether you could make a claim.
When you present to your GP with symptoms of an illness or an injury, you would expect them to listen to your symptoms, examine you where appropriate, diagnose you, offer advice on your condition or refer you for further tests should these be appropriate.
If your GP dismisses clear symptoms of a disease or injury and does not take proper care to investigate your symptoms, this could lead to a disease or injury being missed. This could leave you suffering symptoms for a longer period than you may have needed to, or it could even lead to more invasive treatment being required to treat your illness or injury once it has been accurately diagnosed. It could even lead to a poorer prognosis for recovery.
If you have suffered avoidable harm due to a missed diagnosis by a GP, this could mean you could claim compensation for the harm you’ve suffered due to this type of general practice negligence.
Wrongful diagnosis or misdiagnosis could cause you to suffer harm in two different ways. If you are treated for a condition you do not have, the treatment you are given may give you symptoms you would not have experienced otherwise. In addition to this, the condition you do have may go untreated, which could lead to you suffering for a longer period of time, which could lead to you requiring further, more invasive treatment or you may end up with a poorer prognosis due to the delay in receiving the treatment you need.
If GP negligence caused your misdiagnosis, and you were harmed as a result, you may be able to claim compensation for this.
The medication you receive for a condition or illness should be appropriate. If a doctor makes a mistake with your medication, this could cause several issues. The types of wrong medication error that could lead to you suffering harm could include:
- Wrong medication – If the doctor prescribes the wrong medication entirely, you may end up suffering an adverse drug reaction to the medication because you didn’t need it. Or, you may suffer an allergic reaction if you are prescribed something you were known to be allergic to.
- Wrong dosage – If the dosage is wrong on your prescription, this could lead to an overdose, or undertreatment of your illness/condition. Both of these could cause avoidable harm.
- Wrong instructions – If the instructions on your prescription were incorrect, you might take two doses of medication too close together or too far apart, leading to an overdose or undertreatment of your condition.
Delays in the diagnosis of illnesses or injuries could cause harm in a number of ways. For example, if GP negligence has led to a delayed diagnosis of a broken bone, the bone fragments may have begun to heal in the wrong way, which could mean you end up with a poorer prognosis or having to undergo surgery to correct the damage caused by the delay in diagnosis.
For certain medical conditions, such as cancer, for example, a delay in diagnosis could lead to cancer spreading and becoming harder to treat. This may mean your treatment options become limited, or you may end up with a prognosis that could be much worse than if you had received the right diagnosis earlier on.
We should mention that not all delays in diagnosis could lead to a claim for GP negligence. It would only be possible for you to claim compensation if you could prove that there should not have been a delay in diagnosis and you suffered harm as a result of the GP’s negligence in causing this delay.
Time Limit For Making A GP Negligence Claim
If you have suffered unnecessary harm due to a negligent GP, and you meet the eligibility criteria, you must ensure that your medical negligence claim is started within the correct time limit. Under the Limitation Act 1980, you will have three years to start your claim from the date you were harmed or the date you connected the harm with negligence. This is otherwise known as the date of knowledge.
However, the time limit for certain GP negligence claims may be suspended in some circumstances. For example:
- The three-year limitation period is suspended for minors until their 18th birthday. Prior to this date, a litigation friend could make a claim on their behalf. Otherwise, they will have three years from their 18th birthday to start one.
- The time limit is indefinitely suspended for those who lack the mental capacity to make their own claim. Again, during this suspension, a litigation friend could act on their behalf. Should they regain this capacity, and a claim has not already been made for them, they will have three years to do so from the date of recovery.
If you have any questions about the time limit for GP claims, you can contact our advisors.
As part of the GP negligence claims process, it is important to provide evidence that can prove that your GP acted negligently as well as any unnecessary harm you suffered as a result.
Some examples of evidence that could help support a medical negligence claim against a negligent GP include: .
- Your medical records stating any diagnosis and treatments.
- X-rays, scans and other test results, such as blood tests.
- A copy of any of your prescriptions.
- Correspondence with your healthcare practitioner.
- Proof of any financial harm if you seek special damages. For example, a pay slip may prove a loss of earnings.
If you have any further questions about the types of evidence that could help support GP claims, you can contact our advisory team. They may also be able to connect you with one of the solicitors on our panel if you have a valid case.
If you are trying to find out how much compensation could be appropriate for your injuries and the pain, suffering and loss of amenity they’ve caused, you might have been looking for a medical negligence or personal injury claims calculator. These tools would only ever provide you with a rough idea of GP negligence compensation, however. This is because your medical condition has to be assessed and reported on by an independent medical professional as part of your claim. This report could then be used to calculate how much compensation you could be entitled to receive. Instead of including a calculator on this page, we have chosen instead to show figures taken from the Judicial College Guidelines. This is a legal publication used by solicitors and the courts to value claims.. We have included injuries in the table below that we believe could relate to this type of claim.
Injury Type Guideline Bracket Notes
Chest injury Injury leading to collapsed lungs. Full recovery would be experienced £2,060 to £5,000
Chest injury Damage to chest and lungs that leads to some continuing disabilities. £29,380 to £51,460
Lung cancer Affecting lung function and quality of life, severe pain would be one symptom. £65,710 to £91,350
Kidney damage Serious, permanent damage or loss of both of the kidneys £158,970 to £197,480
Hernia Where llimitation on physical activities, and pain continues even after repair. £13,980 to £22,680
Moderate brain damage Where the injured part has an intellectual deficit that is deemed modest to moderate, where their ability to work is reduced/eliminated and there remains a risk of the development of epilepsy. £85,150 to £140,870
Poisoning Causing discomfort that is deemed to be significant, along with cramps, altered bowel function, fatigue. Hospital admission could be required but full recovery would be made within 1-2 years £3,710 to £8,950
Please note, that these are only approximations. Each GP clinical negligence case is assessed on its own unique circumstances. If you do not see your injury in the table above, that does not mean that you could not claim for it. We would be happy to discuss what the guidelines say about other injuries. All you need to do is call us and describe your injuries. We will then check these details against the guidelines for you.
While the above section relates to the general damages that could be awarded for your pain and suffering, you could also claim for other damages, known as special damages. These are designed to compensate you for monetary costs and losses incurred because of your injuries. These could include:
- Loss of income – Some injuries caused by GP negligence may require you to take time off work to recover. If this is the case, depending on your employer’s sick pay policy, you may lose out on income. If you have lost some or all of your wages due to your injuries, these losses could form part of your claim. If you are not able to return to work as a consequence of your injuries, future income losses could be included as special damages too.
- Care costs – If you were unable to take care of yourself in some way, for example, you needed assistance with dressing or washing, someone may have to take care of you. If there are costs involved with such care, these could also form part of your GP clinical negligence claim.
- Medical expenses – If your injuries meant you needed counselling, physiotherapy, or medication, you may have had to pay for them. Medical costs such as those mentioned could be included within your claim.
- Travel costs – Should you have incurred travel costs that arose directly from the injuries you’ve suffered, such as visits to the hospital, or to see your medical malpractice lawyer, these could be claimed for as special damages.
It is vital that you keep proof of costs and losses if you intend to claim for them. Without evidence, it would be very difficult for you to include costs within a medical negligence or personal injury claim. Therefore, it may be a good idea to put payslips, bank statements, bills and receipts together in a safe place so that they could be provided to your lawyer when appropriate.
It may be of interest for you to know that in some cases, it may be possible for GP negligence solicitors to negotiate an interim payment early on in your claim to cover certain costs. If you have been unable to work, for example, and you were struggling to pay a mortgage or rent, an interim payment could be negotiated for so that you were not put under further financial pressure.
If you are worried about the costs of retaining the services of a medical negligence solicitor to assist with your claim, you may be relieved to know that there is a way that you could do so without having to pay legal fees upfront, or during the course of your claim. These are known as No Win No Fee claims, and they could give you the financial security to pursue a claim without you having to pay any money to your solicitor before your claim was successfully settled.
Claims of this type are documented through a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), which you would sign at the beginning of your claim to promise your clinical negligence solicitor a small proportion of your compensation as a success fee if they successfully negotiated a settlement for you. The percentage is capped, by law, so you would not have to worry that a large proportion of your GP negligence compensation settlement would be taken up in legal fees. If the lawyer is unsuccessful in negotiating a settlement for you, they would not be able to recover fees from you.
If you would like to learn more about No Win, No Fee GP negligence claims or would like us to connect you with a solicitor who could launch your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis, all you need to do is get in touch with our team. We’ll be glad to help. All you need to do is contact our advisors by:
- Phone on 0161 696 9685
- Using our 24/7 live online chat
- Alternatively, you could complete our contact form
However you choose to get in touch, we’ll be glad to help you.
NHS Complaints – If you have suffered harm due to NHS clinical negligence, you could report your complaint here.
GMC Duties Of A GP – Here, you can read about what the General Medical Council defines as a GP’s duties.
GMC Missed Diagnosis Learning Resource – This learning material relating to missed diagnosis could give you an idea of what could constitute such negligence.
Misdiagnosis Claims Guide – Here, you can read more about making a claim for misdiagnosis.
Have You Experienced Hospital Negligence? – If so, this guide could offer assistance.
Negligence Resulting In Death – Here, you can read guidance on claiming for medical negligence for someone who has passed away.