Clinical Negligence

Clinical Negligence: Liability For Common Types Of Medical Negligence Claim

Discover what a clinical negligence negligence claim for compensation is together; the types of medical provider you can make a claim against; the most common types of medical negligence that can give rise to claims – from hospital error, ambulance service negligence and nursing mistake to medical misdiagnosis & GP negligence.

What is a clinical negligence claim?

A clinical negligence claim is a claim for compensation for personal injury (and financial loss) caused by mistakes made by the medical and dental professions.

To better understand what exactly this means – we should look at the meaning of each word in this definition turn.

Clinical meaning

“Clinical” – refers to the medical and dental professions. It includes doctors, consultants, nurses, the NHS, dentists, the ambulance service etc.

Distinction between medical and clinical negligence

The term “medical negligence” was originally used before “clinical negligence” and is still often used to mean “clinical negligence” – even though strictly speaking it does not include dental negligence.

Negligence meaning

In the medical profession, negligence means that a doctor or other medical professional acted with skill at a lower standard than that to normally be expected of a doctor or other medical professional.

Claim meaning

Claim can refer to a claim for compensation for personal injury, financial loss or both.

What types of clinical negligence give rise to compensation claims?

There are many different types of clinical negligence you can claim compensation for including:

Hospital negligence

There are many mistakes that a hospital can make that can lead to injury.

Surgical error

For example – if you went into surgery with a failing kidney and by mistake the hospital removed your healthy kidney, you are entitled to compensation.

We have even known cases where surgical instruments have even been found in a patient’s body – left by mistake after an operation.

Birth Injury
Negligence nursing

Nurses are as much a part of the medical profession as doctors, so their mistakes can equally lead you to having a claim for compensation.

Compensation can be claimed for a child born disabled due to incorrect administering of drugs to the mother prior to birth or due to an error made during the birth itself.

Sterilisation failure / failed abortion

A compensation claim can be made for the birth of a child that was not planned. Had the sterilisation or alternatively an abortion been performed correctly the a child would not have been born.


If you are operated on without giving consent – your person is invaded, which is known as battery. You may be entitled to make a clinical negligence claim for compensation should battery occur.

Watch out – exceptions can occur in an emergency situation and the patient is not conscious to give consent or otherwise.

Lack of patient care

Consider patient who is meant to have bed rail guards and falls out of bed

Slips and trips in hospital

You may suffer injury whilst using the hospital – such as slipping on wet flooring or from a trip due to a defect with the hospital floor surface.

hospital clinical negligence compensation claim
Hospital Clinical Negligence Compensation Claim

National health service / NHS negligence

Negligence by any part of the NHS service – whether that be the ambulance service, NHS hospital staff, nurses, hospital cleaners, etc.

Ambulance service

For example – an ambulance is called in a medical emergency, but takes so long to arrive that a patient suffers significant injury. The ambulance service is seen as an extension of the NHS.

A case in 1991 saw an asthma sufferer receive brain damage, because an ambulance took so long to arrive.

GP Error

Although General Practitioners are contracted to deal with NHS patients – they are not NHS employees and are generally self-employed contractors.

However. for negligent acts by GP’s on or after 01.04. 2019 – successful clinical negligence claims against GP’s are met by NHS Resolution (in a similar same way that NHS Resolution has dealt with claims against hospital Trusts, since 01.04.1995).

Watch out – prior to 1 April 2019, GP’s had mandatory indemnity insurance to meet claims against them in the event of clinical negligence causing patient injury, so the process of recovering compensation could be more difficult.

GP nurses and pharmacists

A group of GP’s may work in partnership together and employ nurses and pharmacists within the GP practice. Clinical errors made by these nurses or pharmacists (or other GP employees or GP locums) that cause patient injury – will again typically be the GP practice’s liability and in turn any clinical negligence claims will be met by NHS Resolution under the Clinical Negligence Scheme For General Practice (CNSGP).

Dental negligence

As with GP’s most dentists and General Dental Practitioners and as such are not considered employees of the NHS (if treating NHS patients). Dentists will have requisite indemnity insurance, that can meet any negligence claims, should they cause injury to their dental patients.

For example – a dentist who misinterprets your x-rays leading to a healthy tooth being removed.

Negligent medical advice

For example – if at hospital a surgeon does not warn you correctly about the risks of an operation and something goes wrong, you may be entitled to compensation.

Had you known the real risk of the operation you may not have consented to it taking place.

Or your GP may have prescribed some form of medication – without warning you of serious side effects/


For example – in one case a mother was told by mistake that her child had died causing her to suffer post traumatic shock.

When it comes to diagnosis – a doctor must show that he/she acted in accordance with a respected group of medical thought to avoid being negligent.

It does not mean that the doctor has to have acted with the only group of medical thought (as there are likely to be several respected groups of medical thought).

You now know the most common types of clinical negligence you can claim compensation for in the UK.

As soon as you suspect you have suffered personal injury due to medical negligence there are some important steps you should take.

See our medical negligence claim article – to find out what you should do if you suspect you have suffered injury as a result of clinical negligence and wish to make a compensation claim.

See our specialist solicitor free help – to select from a number of online and telephone options we provide if you suspect clinical negligence has caused you injury.