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Doctor (GP) Negligence

GP Prescription Errors

When visiting a General Practitioner for medical assistance, many people will accept the course of treatment that is recommended without questioning their doctor's professional opinion. This is perfectly understandable, as we expect GPs to have the skills and expertise necessary to carry out their job.

More often than not this expectation is fulfilled, and patients throughout the country enjoy an excellent standard of care from their GP. However, there are unfortunately times when mistakes are made, causing a patient to suffer further harm. This can arise due to any number of reasons. One of the most common, however, is a GP prescribing error.

What is a Prescribing Error?

A prescribing error is when a GP prescribes a patient the wrong medication. For example, a prescription may be deemed incorrect and therefore dangerous because:-

  • The patient is allergic to the medication;
  • The same medication is prescribed for too long, making it harmful;
  • The incorrect dosage is prescribed;
  • Two or more medicines which should not be taken together are prescribed;
  • The wrong medication entirely is prescribed.

Why Might a Prescribing Error Happen?

There are many ways a GP prescribing error may arise. The most common of these include:-

1. Human error

GPs are, of course, only human. However, in the medical world there is no room for human error, as any lapse in concentration can prove to be devastating.

2. Monitoring issues

Many types of medication need to be closely monitored. With such drugs, patients should not be given repeat prescriptions until their condition has been assessed. For example, if a woman is taking the contraceptive pill, her blood pressure should be regularly reviewed.

3. Unfamiliarity with a patient

If a GP is unfamiliar with a patient (for example, they are a locum or working in an NHS walk-in centre) there may be a lack of awareness regarding a patient's medical history. This may lead to medication being prescribed, which in turn causes a different medical condition to deteriorate. For example, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should not be taken by those with kidney problems.

4. Unfamiliarity with a drug

There are so many different drugs available, a GP may be excused for not having an in depth knowledge of each and every type. Nevertheless, if a GP is uncertain about a medication, it should not be prescribed until he/she has established it will not harm the patient in question.

5. Electronic prescriptions

Now used in GP practices across the country, electronic prescriptions are a fairly new phenomenon. However, recent research carried out by Reading University that over 4% of e-prescriptions contain “significant clinical errors”.

Does a Prescribing Error Amount to Medical Negligence?

If you have suffered as a result of a GP prescribing error, it is likely that you have been the victim of medical negligence. To confirm whether or not this is in fact the case, you need to speak a solicitor who specialises in this area of the law. After listening to the circumstances of your treatment, a medical negligence solicitor will quickly be able to suggest if you have suffered a sub-standard level of care. If you do proceed with a medical negligence claim, you could be awarded compensation for the pain and suffering your GP has caused.

Costs & How We Can Help You

We are always happy to speak to you early after the event to explore the circumstances of your GP negligence and to advise you of your options. We act for clients throughout England and Wales, if we cannot help you we will make no charge for our time. If we can help you to make a claim for compensation, you will benefit from the following funding options:

  • Conditional Fees ("no win, no fee")
  • Legal Expenses Insurance
  • Private Funding
  • Structured Payment Plans

Let Us Help You Now

Early legal intervention can be vital so please contact us if you think you may have a claim. All initial enquiries are completely free of charge and without obligation.

Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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"Before we contacted you we had no real idea that we had grounds for a medical negligence claim but after speaking to you if became clear that Wendy was indeed treated poorly. Chris took the time to explain what was happening and kept us to speed. Our deepest gratitude to you all and Chris in particular."

"I would like to say a big thank you to you for making this whole process easy and relatively painless. You kept me informed throughout and you were always polite and courteous in all forms of communication. I would not hesitate to recommend you to friends and family, so a really big thank you and I wish you all the best in the future."

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