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In life-threatening or medical emergency situations, NHS patients rely on ambulance crews, paramedics and other first responders to provide safe, urgent, and often critical, emergency care.

A timely, effective response to many medical emergencies can prevent death or severe, long-term injury. The outcome to life and death health conditions often depends on how quickly the patient’s condition was recognised and treated. Ambulance crews and paramedics are usually the first medically trained professionals to see the critically ill patient whose outcome may (wholly or partly) depend on their standard of care.

Severe injury or significant worsening of the patient’s condition can be caused by negligent treatment even before the patient leaves home or arrives at hospital. Each stage of the patient’s journey must be handled correctly, from NHS 111’s advice, call handling and triage (prioritising of the patient’s needs), the ambulance service response and/or paramedic care, to the patient’s care in transit and handover at hospital.

Claims commonly arise from misdiagnosis or negligent management of life-threatening or emergency conditions, such as head or spinal injuries, heart attacks and strokes, severe bleeding, meningitis or sepsis, asthma attacks, anaphylaxis, or severe allergic reactions. Further injury may be caused by incorrect treatment or medication, or significant delays in responding.

In the same way that other areas of the NHS, such as accident and emergency (A&E), hospital specialist departments and GPs have a responsibility to their patients, NHS 111 and ambulance services must compensate patients who are severely injured by their negligent care. This includes where the mistakes are the result of lack of training, staff or resources. The NHS is responsible for ensuring that ambulance services have the correct staff and equipment to respond to emergencies on time and to provide the correct standard of care.

Recent ambulance negligence cases

We obtained an admission of liability (fault), an apology and £50,000 interim (advance) payment in an ongoing claim for a young woman who needed amputations through her feet after an ambulance crew failed to recognise signs of meningitis and take her to hospital for urgent IV antibiotic treatment.

Our expertise with ambulance and paramedic negligence claims

Boyes Turner’s medical negligence claims specialists can help injured patients recover compensation after negligence by:

  • NHS 111;
  • Ambulance services;
  • Air ambulance services;
  • Paramedics;
  • First responders;
  • Out of hours services;

See our other website pages for further types of claims arising from negligent emergency care: 

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What type of mistakes lead to ambulance/paramedic or NHS 111 negligence claims?

Medical negligence claims for compensation for serious injury caused by first responders often include one or more of the following mistakes:

  • call handling errors;
  • failing to take proper information about the patient’s condition;
  • negligent prioritising of the patient’s need for treatment (triage);
  • incorrect urgency classification and instruction to ambulance service;
  • failing to send out an ambulance;
  • delay:
    • in arriving (slow response time);
    • in providing treatment;
    • in transfer to appropriate hospital for the condition;
    • in handover of patient at hospital;
  • paramedic care errors;
  • patient handling errors, (such as spinal injury lifting, excessive force, dropping a patient or allowing a patient to fall);
  • incorrect assessment or misdiagnosis;
  • failing to recognise red flag symptoms of emergency conditions;
  • failing to provide emergency treatment (such as resuscitation);
  • incorrect treatment;
  • failure to carry out correct observations;
  • medication errors;
  • refusing to take a patient to hospital who needs emergency treatment;
  • ambulance equipment errors:
    • lack of necessary equipment;
    • use of incorrect equipment;
    • defective equipment;
  • communication errors:
    • incorrect classification of the level of urgency;
    • miscommunication on handover of the patient;
    • incorrect information noted in the patient’s medical records;  
  • staff issues:
    • shortages of staff;
    • lack of properly trained staff;
  • ambulance driving errors:
    • ambulance road traffic accidents and collisions;
    • taking the patient to the wrong hospital for their condition.

Claims for serious injury involving ambulance care can also arise from:

  • GP negligence, such as:
    • delay in calling an ambulance;
    • failure to specify the correct level of urgency;
    • providing incorrect information about the patient’s condition; 
  • A&E or emergency department delays in accepting a patient during handover from an ambulance.
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What kind of injuries you can claim compensation for?

In most cases, patients who need an ambulance are already suffering from a condition which needs urgent or emergency hospital care. Where a delayed response or negligent treatment from ambulance or paramedic services causes or significantly worsens the patient’s condition, leading to severe, permanent injury, the patient may be entitled to claim compensation for the additional injury that was caused by the negligent care.

Boyes Turner’s medical negligence claims team have helped patients and their families recover compensation after negligent ambulance or emergency care has resulted in:

  • brain injury or neurological injury, such as from delayed or negligent response to:
    • respiratory arrest;
    • Heart attack or cardiac arrest
    • stroke;
    • brain haemorrhage;
    • obstetric emergency (birth injury);
    • choking;
  • spinal injury:
    • tetraplegia;
    • paraplegia;
    • paralysis;
    • cauda equina syndrome;
  • amputation, including from:
    • peripheral ischaemia;
    • meningitis;
    • sepsis;
    • thrombosis;
  • damage to vital organs;
  • long term disability;
  • psychological injury/PTSD;
  • death or fatal injury.
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Meet your team

Susan Brown

Partner

Julie Marsh

Partner

Richard Money-Kyrle

Partner

Sita Soni

Senior Associate - solicitor

Vanessa Wand

Senior associate - solicitor

Tara Byrne

Associate - Solicitor

Rachel Makore

Associate - solicitor

Alpa Rana

Associate - solicitor

Fran Rothwell

Associate solicitor

Ben Ireland

Solicitor

Audrey Elmore

Medical records coordinator

Nicky Melville

Professional support assistant

How much compensation can you get for medical negligence?

How to make a medical negligence claim?

How long do medical negligence claims take?

How to fund a medical negligence claim?

Will I need a medical examination if I make a medical negligence claim for compensation?

Can I make a claim on behalf of a child?

What can medical negligence compensation pay for?

How can you prove medical negligence?
Is there a time limit for claiming medical negligence compensation?
Will I need to go to court to claim medical negligence compensation?
What is causation in medical negligence claims?
Can I claim against the NHS?
Who can make a medical negligence claim?

Ambulance negligence cases

Awards & Accreditations

Our teams have been nationally recognised over the past decade for their dedication and commitment to securing maximum compensation for our clients

What our clients say

Our clients constantly recognize us as the most experienced, professional, efficient and supportive

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"You have given fantastic support and guidance"

Boyes Turner have a great asset in Julie Marsh, she has handled my case with such professionalism and has kept me informed at every stage over the 6 years. She has given me guidance, support and that personal touch where I could ring or email at any time and she would always answer and give me answers to any questions I had. Would recommend without hesitation. Thank you

Boyes Turner Client

"I have been impressed"

“Tara Byrne kept me well informed at all stages of my claim. I have been impressed with the way my case was handled, and the time scale within which a settlement was reached.”

Boyes Turner Client

"Very Professional "

Boyes Turner helped me through one of the toughest times in my life. They were very professional whilst remaining friendly. At times the process was emotionally tough but they were very patient with me and went through everything with me until I understood it. I cannot recommend them enough. 

Boyes Turner Client

"We cannot thank Susan and her team at Boyes Turner enough"

Words cannot express how grateful we are to Susan and her team for the level of commitment and dedication shown to our family during a time which would be difficult for anyone. Susan demonstrates a calm professional manner which helped us to feel at ease. Her level of knowledge has proven to be the best in the field and we fully recommend her to anyone seeking to investigate birth injury claims. You can be confident that Susan and her team will scrutinise the medical notes thoroughly and will keep you well informed throughout the process. We are very pleased with the outcome of our child’s case and know that her work has resulted in justice being achieved. Our family will now be able to move forward in the knowledge that the finances are securely in place for our child to receive a suitable care package, purchase equipment and receive necessary lifelong therapy. We cannot thank Susan and her team at Boyes Turner enough.

Boyes Turner Client

"I would like to say a huge thank you to Fran Rothwell"

I would like to say a huge thank you to Fran Rothwell for the exceptional work that she has carried out on my behalf. She is knowledgeable, efficient and has great attention to detail.Fran has kept me informed throughout the entire process and has been a great support to me, always being at the end of the phone, or on an email, whenever I needed her. She truly wants the best for her client and is passionate about getting justice. Fran also has a kind and compassionate nature and takes her time to explain what is going on in a clear and simple way. This has been extremely helpful to me during a difficult time.It is certainly reassuring having such strong women behind me.

Boyes Turner Client