By Lewis Winehouse. Last Updated 30th November 2022. When you visit your GP, you hope that they’ll be able to diagnose your ailment and treat it successfully. In many cases, that’s exactly what happens even though some GPs are overloaded with patients. However, if a mistake is made such as the doctor prescribed the wrong dosage of medicine, you could end up suffering additional symptoms on top of your underlying condition. If that happens, and it can be shown your suffering was caused by the GPs negligence, you could be entitled to make a compensation claim.
Here at Legal Helpline, we believe everybody has the right to claim compensation for suffering caused by somebody else. We also believe they should do so without worrying about the costs involved. That’s why our advisors offer free legal advice and a no obligation assessment of any claim. Also, if you’re case is strong enough, our panel of solicitors will work on a no win no fee basis. Should you know that you’re already in a position to begin your claim, please call our team on 0161 696 9685 today.
If you’d prefer to find out more about claiming when the doctor wrote the wrong prescription, please continue reading.
Select A Section
- A Guide To Claiming Compensation If A Doctor Prescribed You The Wrong Dosage Of A Medicine
- What Is A Prescription Error By A Doctor?
- NHS GP Patient’s Rights
- Statistics Highlighting Prescription Errors
- Wrong Dosage – A Doctor Over Prescribed My Medication
- Wrong Dosage – A Doctor Under Prescribed My Medication
- Wrong Dosage – A Doctor Provided Me An Ineffective Prescription
- Calculating Compensation If A Doctor Prescribed You The Wrong Dosage
- Costs And Expenses Which You Could Be Compensated For
- How Do I Establish That My GP Acted Negligently?
- No Win No Fee Claims Against GP’s If A Doctor Prescribed The Wrong Dosage
- Why Choose Legal Helpline?
- Start Your Claim Against A GP Or Doctor
- Supporting Resources
Claims for any type of medical negligence can require complex evidence from medical experts to prove what went wrong and how a claimant suffered. The same is true when claiming because a doctor prescribed the wrong dosage. Prescriptions, medical records and pharmacist records will all need to be reviewed to try and determine the reason for the mistake.
Therefore, we’ve written this guide to help you determine whether you could begin a claim or not. We’ll look at your rights as an NHS patient, prescription error statistics and when the GP could be liable for your suffering. This leads on to when you could make a claim and how much you could receive which we’ll look at too. As we progress through our guide, we’ll try to answer the following questions:
- What is a prescription error?
- Can you sue a doctor for wrong prescription?
- What happens if you are given the wrong medication?
Finally, we’ll look at the different types of error that could occur such as over prescription, under prescription and ineffective prescriptions.
We advise that you begin your claim as soon as you become aware of the prescription mistake. That’s because solicitors have to work within the personal injury claims time limit. In general circumstances, this will be 3-years from the date you found out about the mistake which caused you to suffer. Cases involving children are slightly different. A parent can claim on their behalf at any point before they turn 18. If they don’t, when the child becomes an adult, they can claim before their 21st birthday.
What Is A Prescription Error By A Doctor?
A medicine error is one where there’s a mistake with prescribing, preparing, administering, dispensing or providing medicine advice. Obviously, a GP will only be involved in the prescription or providing advice about the medicine. Therefore, to be able to claim compensation against a GP for a prescription error, you’ll need to show that they:
- Prescribed the wrong medicine or the wrong dosage.
- Or providing the wrong advice on using the medicine.
- And as a result, you suffered some form of adverse reaction.
Our panel of solicitors specialise in medical negligence claims. They have the experience, knowledge and specialist training to understand what evidence is required to prove that you’ve suffered because a doctor prescribed the wrong dosage.
NHS GP Patient’s Rights
Under the NHS’ constitution, you have a number of rights regarding GPs. These include:
- The right to a GP. You have the right to register with a GP if you live within their catchment area.
- You have the right to choose which GP within a practice you register with. They can refuse this but must provide reasonable grounds, in writing, for doing so.
- There is a right to treatment at your registered surgery. There is no automatic right to be seen by your GP though.
- Out of ours services must be provided by GPs when they’re off duty. This could be through locum services, other doctors in the practice or an out of hours telephone service.
- There is no right to a home visit. A GP can decide to visit you at home if they believe your condition warrants it.
- No charges can be made for basic treatment for NHS patients living in the UK.
- You don’t have the right to a second opinion. However, the GP could ask another doctor or specialist to review your case if they believe it’s necessary. You can’t choose which doctor or specialist will be used.
For more information on your rights as an NHS patient, please review the NHS constitution for England here.
Statistics Highlighting Prescription Errors
According to a report by three English universities, an estimated 237 million NHS medication errors happen in England each year. They also estimate that hundreds of deaths are caused each year by avoidable adverse drug reactions (ADRs).
The report said their estimates were that over 700 deaths were caused directly because of ADRs. Also, ADRs were estimated to have contributed to between 1,700 and 22,000 deaths each year. That said, the report went on to suggest that 3 in 4 of the 237 million errors would cause patients no harm.
In comparison to this report, an NHS article from 2012, indicated that 1 in 20 prescriptions has an error. The study that the article was based on was conducted in 15 GP surgeries in 3 areas of the UK. The researchers assessed at 6,048 prescriptions issued over a year. The study concluded that:
- 1 in 20 items prescribed contained a prescribing error or monitoring error.
- 1 In 550 items prescribed contained a severe error.
- 18% of the errors occurred where the doctor prescribed the wrong dosage.
- 42% of errors were minor, 54% moderate and 4% were considered to be severe.
Wrong Dosage – A Doctor Over Prescribed My Medication
Over prescribing is where the doctor prescribes a medicine in too high a dosage. This means the amount of the amount of medicine was too much, to be taken too often or for too long. Any over prescribing can lead to an avoidable adverse drug reaction such as fatigue, sickness, nausea, headaches or, in more serious cases, organ failure.
It is the doctor’s responsibility to understand the rules associated with any medication to ensure the correct level is prescribed. If you believe you’ve been over prescribed medication that has caused you to suffer, please contact an advisor for free advice on your options.
Wrong Dosage – A Doctor Under Prescribed My Medication
On the other hand, under prescribing can also cause adverse effects. However, they probably won’t be ADRs as with over prescribing. It’s more likely that the underlying condition will be made worse because the treatment is ineffective as it’s not strong enough. Under prescribing can mean too low a dosage has been prescribed. It is also the phrase used when the wrong medication is given.
There are a number of reasons why a doctor might under prescribe. These could include:
- The fear of adverse reactions to stronger doses.
- Worrying about reactions with other medicines.
- The cost of the medication.
Whatever the reason, if you’ve suffered because of under prescribing, you could be entitled to claim compensation. Please get in touch with details of your claim and we’ll provide advice on how best to proceed.
Another way the wrong dose of medicine can be prescribed is through ineffective prescriptions. This could be the case if the doctor fails to follow guidelines. It’s also possible when a prescription is made for a patient who is on other medication where the same remedial function is performed by another of their medicines.
Ineffective prescribing could occur simply because the doctor has made a mistake with the treatment they’ve issued. If you’ve been given a medicine which isn’t intended for the condition you were being treated for, you could claim for an ineffective prescription if it led to additional suffering.
If the wrong medication is prescribed by a doctor, you might wonder how much compensation you could receive. If you have suffered harm or loss, you may be able to claim the following damages:
- General damages – This head of claim focuses on the pain and suffering caused by your injuries, including both physical and mental health
- Special damages – Any financial harm caused by medical negligence is referred to as special damages. This is discussed further in the section below.
Legal professionals calculate general damages using resources such as the 16th edition of the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). Figures from this publication can be found in the table below.[table “4452” not found /]
Please note the above figures should be used as guidelines. Solicitors also take into account any special damages before estimating the final value of your medical negligence claim.
Speak to our advisors for free legal advice if a doctor prescribed you the wrong medication. They can answer any questions you may have including, ‘can I sue a doctor for prescribing wrong medication?’.
In the previous section, we looked at some figures you might receive as compensation. Those figures are known as general damages compensation. That’s the compensation awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity. However, there’s another type of compensation known as ‘special damages’ which can be claimed for too. Here are some examples of special damages you might be entitled to:
- Medication costs.
While any remedial treatment you require will usually be free on the NHS, you might incur other costs. These include over the counter medicines, prescription costs and also some treatments not available on the NHS. Therefore, you could claim these back.
- Care costs.
If you need support while you recover, then you might need a carer. If that’s the case, the fees of a professional carer could be claimed back. Also, it might be possible to make a claim for the time of a friend or family member who cared for you.
- Travelling costs.
When you need to visit a hospital or your GP to be treated for the suffering caused by your doctor’s mistake, you could incur parking and fuel costs. Therefore, you could ask for these back.
- Lost earnings.
If your suffering means you have to take time off work which is unpaid, you could ask for these losses back. This might occur while your recovering or if you need to attend medical appointments. If there are any longer-term issues related to your illness, you might also be able to ask for future lost income.
With any special damages claim, you’ll need to provide evidence like receipts or bank statements. You’ll also need to prove why expenses were linked to your injuries or illness. Therefore, you could write down the reason for spending in a diary to make it easier to remember.
For any type of personal injury claim, you’ll need evidence to prove:
- What happened.
- Who was to blame.
- How you suffered.
- Whether they’ll be any long-lasting effects.
With a prescription medication error, providing evidence can be quite tricky. However, there are some things you could use to try and support your claim. These include:
- A copy of the prescription.
- Notes from the pharmacist’s system.
- A copy of your medical records. You are entitled to ask for these even if you’re suing the doctor.
- Witness statements from anybody who was present at your doctor’s appointments.
When you’ve obtained as much evidence as possible, your solicitor can use it to try and substantiate the claim. For instance, they could ask a specialist to review the dosage on the prescription to check for errors. They could also use medical records to demonstrate the additional suffering that was caused when the doctor prescribed the wrong medication.
No Win No Fee Claims Against GP’s If A Doctor Prescribed The Wrong Dosage
If you’re considering claiming because you suffered after a doctor prescribed the wrong dosage, you might be worried about the costs involved with claiming. You needn’t worry however, as our panel of solicitors work on a no win no fee basis when they agree to work on a claim.
As they risk not being paid, the solicitor will start by checking that there is a chance your case can be won. If they believe there is, you’ll be provided with a conditional fee agreement (CFA). The CFA is a legal contract between you and the solicitor.
Contained within the CFA are two key points; 1) There are no solicitor’s fees payable in the even the case is lost; and 2) The level of success fee payable when you receive compensation.
Success fees are a percentage of your compensation that’s deducted before it’s sent to you. They are used to cover the solicitor’s fees. Typically, the success fee will be around 25% of your compensation.
We believe that offering a no win no fee service means more people are able to claim for wrong dose medication errors. That’s mainly because they reduce the financial risk which lowers the stress involved with claiming.
Why Choose Legal Helpline?
We know that there are many options available to you when deciding how to proceed with a personal injury claim. We strongly believe that you should choose Legal Helpline to help you begin. Here are some reasons why:
- You can claim whenever it’s convenient. That’s because our claim line is open 24-hours a day, 7-days a week.
- We have a team of friendly specialists who’ll provide a no obligation assessment of your claim. Any legal advice they provide is free of charge.
- Our panel of solicitors have handled medical malpractice claims for many years. Also, they’ll:
- Provide you with regular updates as your claim progresses.
- Ensure they work as efficiently as possible so that they don’t cause any delays.
- Provide as much evidence as required to try and ensure you receive the right level of compensation.
- Work on a no win no fee basis for any personal injury claims they handle.
Start Your Claim Against A GP Or Doctor
Thanks for taking the time to read this guide which looked at claims when a doctor prescribed the wrong dosage. Hopefully, you now have enough information to begin your claim. If that’s the case, and you’d like Legal Helpline to work with you, here are the best ways to get in touch:
- Simply call our team of specialist advisors on 0161 696 9685 for free advice.
- Contact us via the live chat applet on this site.
- Or, finally, you could arrange a call back. To do so, please complete our enquiry form.
Our team of advisors will begin by reviewing the evidence you have and offering a no obligation assessment of your claim. They’ll provide free legal advice, so you know all of your options. If they believe the case is strong enough, you could be introduced to one of the personal injury solicitors on our panel. If they believe your wrong dosage claim can be won, they will handle your claim on a no win no fee basis.
You’ve now come to the end of our guide explaining when you could claim if a doctor prescribed the wrong dosage. The following guides and links have been included for your reference; we hope they might prove useful to you.
NHS England – The main NHS website that provides latest news and plans for the health service.
The General Medical Council – It is the aim of the GMC to support doctors and practitioners to help protect patients.
The Care Quality Commission – The CQC monitor and inspect doctors surgeries, walk in centres and minor injury units.
Hospital Negligence Claims – This guide explains when compensation could be sought following a fatal injury in a hospital caused by medical negligence.
Cosmetic Surgery Claims – A guide which explains when you could claim for suffering caused by clinical malpractice during cosmetic treatments.
Emergency Services Vehicle Claims – Information on when a personal injury lawyer could help you claim for an accident involving an emergency service vehicle.
Please feel free to contact us if there is any further information we can provide for you.