Although the NHS provides fantastic care for patients up and down the country, large waiting lists for treatment, a limited number of specialist doctors and restrictions on certain medications and treatments in some NHS trusts mean that many people choose to take out private health insurance or to pay for their care privately. In doing so, medical care, diagnostic tests and referrals can be obtained more quickly.
Unfortunately, paying for private health insurance or private healthcare does not exclude patients from medical negligence. Although paying an extra premium for private care can give patients access to some of the newest medical technologies, as well as some highly specialist surgeons and doctors, mistakes can still occur. Regardless of how the care is funded, be it through the NHS, through private health insurance or through an upfront payment, patients are still entitled to a reasonable and professional standard of medical care from all of the doctors, surgeons, nurses and medical staff that they encounter during the course of their treatment. If the reasonable standard of care is not adhered to, or the medical professional breaches their duty of care to the patient, a medical negligence claim for compensation can be sought.
Although private health claims are typically handled in a similar way to NHS medical negligence claims, there are a few differences:
- In private health, patients typically have a contract with the healthcare provider. This contract may involve the guarantee of a certain outcome, which means that the contract will have to be evaluated before a claim is brought, as this contract may negate the possibility of a compensation claim
- There may be issues surrounding consent when a medical procedure has been “sold” to a patient (whether they pay for the treatment through insurance or upfront), especially if the procedure is elective and the patient has not been informed of all of the risks and possible side effects
- Occasionally, private health care is provided by an outside company. It may appear that the treatment is being provided by the NHS, or a different company, when in fact it is being provided by someone else. This means that in order to move forwards with a claim, the specific company or persons directly involved in your care will need to be identified. Axiclaim’s specialist team of medical negligence lawyers can take care of this for you and ensure that the claim is bought against the right agency
- Typically, patients who travel to the UK for private health care are entitled to compensation should something go wrong with their treatment, regardless of their home country. To find out more about your rights as a foreign patient, contact Axiclaim
Talk to our medical negligence solicitors for confidential advice about your claim. We have vast experience in medical negligence cases in both the NHS and the private health care sectors which means that we’re able to handle your claim with the appropriate professionalism and sensitivity. Call us now.