Can a Medical Negligence Claim Arise From a GP Misdiagnosis?

03rd February 2011
By Tim Bishop in Medical Malpractice
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Whenever you receive medical treatment, it is up to the medical professional, by law, to provide you with what is termed as a 'duty of care'. This is not a loose term but is governed by the doctor's professional body, the General Medical Council (GMC) - details of which can be found on the website of the General Medical Council,

A breach of this duty of care resulting in injury or harm to you is likely to mean that there has been some medical negligence on the part of that medical professional.

If a doctor is found to be in serious breach of duty, he or she can be struck off the GMC authorised list. He will then be prevented from further practising. This is therefore a serious area of law that needs to be sensitively and professionally handled by a specialist medical negligence solicitor. It may effect how you view your doctor.

You are unlikely to realise when you consult a specialist or doctor that a contractual relationship exists between you as the patient, and the doctor, hospital, or other health care provider. It is this relationship which forms the existence of a 'duty of care'.

So, the physician-patient relationship is first established by consulting this person about an illness or a set of medical symptoms. To avoid medical negligence, the physician has a duty to possess the medical knowledge required of a reasonably competent health care provider, who is qualified in that particular field of medicine.

He or she will also be expected to use their own medical judgment to a reasonably competent level in the exercise of that care. When this fails, patients should consult a trained medical negligence lawyer to see if there are sufficient grounds for a compensation claim.

This duty of care applies to the medical professional in all specialties or health care fields - dentristy, midwifery, medical, alternative treatments etc.

If you are not a patient of that particular GP or health care professional, then there is no contractual relationship with you and a duty of care does not exist. You are then prevented from bringing a medical negligence claim. Not only this, but where a poor bedside manner is given by a GP this can also constitute negligence - although it may give rise to a complaint to the GP's surgery or local NHS Trusts, for example.

Sadly although the vast majority of medical professionals are highly competent, there are rare occasions when medical treatment is simply negligent. If you have suffered medical negligence then you should not worry about claiming for the compensation you need - not least because the availability of medical negligence compensation is a huge incentive for those responsible for the treatment of you and others to keep to the highest standards.


Bonallack & Bishop are specialist Medical Negligence Solicitors. If you need advice on your compensation claim contact one of their lawyers today. Tim Bishop is senior partner at the firm, responsible for all major strategic decisions. He has grown the firm by 1000% in 13 years and sees himself as a businessman who owns a law firm.
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