The NHS is a cherished institution for us all, providing essential care to people across the UK. Unfortunately, following years of funding cuts, the NHS sometimes falls short of the high-level of care its hard-working staff want to deliver. The lack of investment has led to short-staffing levels, an overworked workforce, and long waiting times for patients to receive treatment.

When using an NHS service, we expect to receive medical care and treatment that makes us better. While NHS staff strive to deliver on this expectation, there are times when care or treatment falls below an acceptable standard of care. Sometimes, that standard is so far below the expected level that it is considered negligent.

If you have experienced a poor level of care while receiving treatment from the NHS that resulted in injury or harm, or made your condition worse, you may have a claim for medical negligence compensation.

Many people are reluctant to take legal action against the NHS, and we understand that. However, we also know that compensation can help patients and their families rebuild their lives. Medical negligence compensation can also enable patients to be less reliant on the NHS going forward, as it helps them access private rehabilitation and treatment that can improve their condition.

Need legal advice?

Thompsons can help you secure that vital compensation you need. Our specialist medical negligence solicitors provide free, no-obligation legal advice and can support you through the NHS negligence claims process. Request a call back or call us today.

Frequently asked questions about NHS negligence claims


What is medical negligence?

Medical or clinical negligence occurs when a health care professional (e.g., doctor, surgeon or nurse) fails in their duty of care and causes harm to a patient through accident, mistake, oversight, or carelessness.


Can I make a claim against the NHS for medical negligence?

Yes, it is possible to make an NHS claim. The NHS as an organisation has a duty to care for every single patient. If something goes wrong, and a patient suffers an injury or illness, then it may be possible for the individual to make a claim for compensation.

Here are some examples of the types of medical negligence claims we regularly support our clients with:


Is there a time limit for making a medical negligence claim against the NHS?

Medical negligence claims must be made within three years of when you became aware that negligence had occurred.

There are, however, some exceptional cases to the strict time limits for medical negligence. For example, if the patient is under 18 or has limited mental capacity. Nevertheless, it’s safer to assume that you only have three years to make an NHS compensation claim, so don’t delay getting in touch with our lawyers.


What evidence do I need to make a claim?

During the claims process you will usually be required to provide evidence relating to your injuries or suffering to put forward the strongest case possible. Evidence could include:

  • Copies of your medical records
  • Independent medical reports
  • Financial evidence of past or future monetary losses.


Will I still be entitled to NHS care after making a claim?

Yes, you are still entitled to healthcare and treatment on the NHS, even if you have submitted an NHS compensation claim. If you would feel uncomfortable continuing to receive care and treatment at your practice, you can change your healthcare provider and receive treatment elsewhere if you'd prefer.

As part of your medical negligence claim, you may also be able to claim for the costs of any private treatment you need.


What is the medical negligence claim process?

Beginning your NHS compensation claim is very simple. One of our medical negligence solicitors will ask you for some background information and talk you through the process.

We will begin by asking you questions such as:

  • When did the medical negligence happen?
  • Which hospital or clinic did the negligence take place in?
  • How has your health been adversely affected by the medical negligence?
  • What is the prognosis of your medical condition?

Once you have provided us with answers to these sorts of questions, we will be able to offer you free legal advice about what the next steps are.


How much is an average NHS negligence claim payout?

Since every medical negligence claim is different, it's hard to put a figure on the average payout. Your lawyer will be able to advise you on the amount that you could receive.

The seriousness of the injury has a significant effect on how much compensation you may be awarded. In claims involving minor injuries, the compensation awarded can be several thousand pounds.

However, claims for the most serious cases of medical malpractice and negligence that have resulted in serious life-changing injuries, or even death, have seen compensation amounts in the millions of pounds.

Other factors that affect the payout amount include any expenses incurred, plus any loss of earnings.

When you make an NHS compensation claim, an experienced medical negligence solicitor will be able to assess your case and offer you advice on what level of payout you will be expected to receive.


How do I make a claim against the NHS for medical negligence?

There are usually four steps to claiming against the NHS:

1. Free consultation

The first step is to give us a call on 0800 0 224 224 . We provide free, no-obligation consultations, where we will discuss your situation and explain the process of making a claim. If you wish to proceed, we may request evidence, including copies of medical records, witness statements and receipts for any costs you have incurred as a result of the negligence.

2. Medical expert report

If there is a case to pursue, you will need to be examined by a medical expert, who will send a report back to us. The report will examine two issues: a 'breach of duty', meaning the NHS has not upheld its standards, and 'causation' - the damage caused. Once we have a solid case, we will send the NHS a ‘Letter of Claim’.

3. NHS response

The NHS has four months to respond to our claims, though this may prove quicker thanks to the help of NHS Resolution, which provides expertise on resolving concerns fairly. We will use this time to assess the impact the injury has had on your daily life and recommend a final settlement amount. If the NHS admits liability, you’ll be awarded compensation.

4. Issue court proceedings (if required)

If the NHS contests your claim (does not admit liability) and we are confident that you will succeed at trial, we will issue court proceedings, and represent you at a trial if required. Rest assured, most cases are settled before they reach trial. 


I was referred to a private hospital by the NHS, can I still claim?

Yes. You can claim for medical negligence regardless of whether you were treated by the NHS or in a private healthcare setting. If the NHS outsources your care to a private healthcare provider, or if you choose to pay for private treatment, you can still make a claim if you were harmed due to medical negligence.


Why choose Thompsons’ medical negligence solicitors?

For more than 100 years, we have supported those who have been victims of malpractice and medical negligence. We are proud that we have never acted for those defending compensation claims or their insurance companies.

Our experienced and dedicated medical negligence team includes members of the Law Society’s Clinical Negligence Accreditation Scheme and Action Against Medical Accidents’ (AvMA) referral panel.

We campaign for justice for our clients and fairness for those who suffer injuries due to negligence. We have represented clients in several high-profile medical negligence cases, including victims of disgraced breast surgeon Ian Paterson.

With Thompsons, you can make your NHS claim on a no win, no fee basis, so you’ll only need to pay a contribution towards legal costs if your claim is successful.

In addition, we will seek interim financial support where possible. This helps give you some financial security while you await the outcome of your case. In the event we do not secure NHS compensation for you, you won’t be required to pay a penny.

If you are looking to make a claim, contact our NHS negligence solicitors today on 0800 0 224 224 or complete our online enquiry form. Our initial assessment and legal advice is completely free of charge, so get in touch to see how we can help you with your claim.