Medical negligence is a stain on one of the most advanced healthcare systems in the world. In the UK, medical negligence – wherein doctors or other medical staff fail to provide the right care to their patients, with deleterious outcomes – is potentially on the rise, as NHS funding issues and oversubscription of primary care services make it harder and harder for patients to receive the attention they require. As one of the millions on an NHS waiting list, or stuck in limbo between ineffective treatments, you might be wondering: am I a medical negligence victim?

Proving Negligent Care

If you feel you’ve been a victim of medical negligence, you should by all means be prepared to take the necessary steps to address it civilly – steps which we will explore in due course. While you might ‘know’ that you’ve been victimised in this way, proving so is more complicated than it may first appear.

Fundamentally, you need to be able to demonstrate that the care you experienced directly enabled the outcome you experienced; further, you need to demonstrate that the outcome you experienced was damaging to you, whether emotionally, financially or with respect to your quality of life. This is easier said than done, and more concretely explained by the ‘four Ds’ of medical negligence:


This is the establishment that your doctor or medical facility had a duty of care over you as a patient.


This is the establishment that your treatment was a dereliction of their duty, whether by misinterpreting your symptoms or making mistakes in treatment.

Direct Cause

This is the establishment that your experienced outcome was directly caused by that dereliction of duty. This is the point around which every medical negligence case pivots; for example, if a misprescription of drugs was followed by a worsening condition, it might be argued that your condition would have worsened irrespective of medical intervention or mis-intervention.


This describes the damages you suffered as a result of your medical professional’s dereliction of duty. This would include loss of earnings, increased living costs associated with public or private transport, additional costs associated with accessibility adjustments, and compensation for personal anguish.

Next Steps

If, during a given primary care process or course of treatment, you believe yourself to be a victim of negligent care, you can take immediate action. The first port of call would be to voice your concerns over your treatment directly, or in the case of primary care to seek a second opinion. If that second opinion differs from the first, you may have more immediate grounds for complaint. The NHS’ Patient Advice and Liaison Services (PALS) are a useful avenue to take for informal complaints over process.

If you have already experienced the negative impacts of negligent care, and are able to demonstrate such through medical records and personal testimony, you might consider reaching out to a specialist solicitor to review your case. If they believe you do indeed have one, they will handle the legal steps necessary to bring the case forward, simultaneously bringing it to the attention of the medical facility in question – with the potential for winning you both justice and compensation.