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In England each year around 300 million consultations take place between patients and their GPs. Whilst hospitals provide healthcare for emergency/acute, specialist, surgical and serious conditions, most people rely on their local, community-based doctor’s surgery for treatment of minor and ongoing ailments.

GP surgeries are busy places and GPs are required to make increasingly quick decisions about their patients’ diagnoses, referral needs and treatment. Inevitably, mistakes happen. When a medical error by a GP or their practice staff results in serious harm to a patient, the patient is entitled to compensation for their injury and its financial consequences.  

For over 30 years, our friendly, highly skilled GP negligence solicitors have helped hundreds of people claim their full entitlement to compensation from their GP's insurers.

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GP negligence claims frequently asked questions

What is GP negligence?

A general practitioner or GP is a local, community-based doctor who advises and treats people for minor and chronic illnesses. GPs provide routine healthcare to their registered patients. The GP is often the first doctor that a patient consults when they have a healthcare problem which needs referral to hospital or to a specialist for treatment.

An important part of the GP’s role is recognising when a patient is experiencing symptoms or showing signs of a serious illness that cannot be treated by the GP. It is their responsibility to arrange for the patient to be seen by the right type of hospital doctor or surgeon, within the correct timescale for the injury – e.g. urgently or routinely – and to provide accurate information to the hospital specialist about why they think the patient needs their help. They may also refer the patient to hospital for tests or investigations, such as x-rays or scans.

In emergency situations, a GP will sometimes call an ambulance to take the patient directly to hospital or tell the patient’s family to take them immediately to A&E (the hospital’s accident and emergency department). Where a GP sends a patient directly to hospital they will often advise the hospital of their concerns about the patient’s health and the reason for emergency admission or treatment.

When a patient leaves hospital, the GP receives information from the hospital about the patient’s treatment and ongoing needs. They may be responsible for following up the patient, explaining test results to them, ordering future tests, or prescribing medicines. Even after a patient has been seen in hospital, the GP may need to refer the patient back to hospital if, in their professional opinion, the patient needs further specialist treatment.

GP appointments take place within a few minutes. Within that time the GP must:

  • take care to listen to the patient’s description of their symptoms;
  • recognise warning signs of serious illness;
  • ask further questions and examine the patient, if necessary, to be clear about the patient’s condition;
  • take action to treat, refer to hospital or advise the patient before sending them home;
  • make a note in the patient’s medical records of:
    • the patient’s symptoms and signs;
    • their own findings, e.g. from examining the patient;
    • action taken;
    • advice given.  

A patient may have a claim against a GP if they suffer avoidable injury which was caused by the GP’s negligent:

  • failing to examine a patient, note their symptoms, take their medical history properly;
  • failing to take into account the patient’s medical history or other conditions when making a diagnosis;
  • delay or failure to recognise and act on red flag warning signs and diagnostic symptoms and signs of illness;
  • delay or failure to refer a patient to hospital or to a specialist for a second opinion, investigations or treatment;
  • failure to order necessary tests and investigations;
  • communication errors, such as failing to tell a patient about test results needing action or follow up, or failing to specify that a patient’s referral is urgent;
  • errors in prescribing medicines;
  • treatment errors.

We have successfully recovered substantial compensation for clients injured by GP negligence which caused serious, permanent disability. Conditions in which GP negligence commonly leads to claims include:

  • cauda equina syndrome (CES) or spinal cord/nerve compression
  • infection, meningitis, sepsis and encephalitis
  • diabetic complications, including foot problems, such as Charcot foot leading to amputation
  • ischaemia
  • cancer
  • head injury, brain haemorrhage and aneurysm
  • tuberculosis (TB)
  • cardiac (heart) problems, such as heart attack, unstable angina, sarcoid, and myocarditis
  • slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) – a (pre)teenage condition involving a fracture through the growth plate of the hip

Who pays the compensation for GP negligence?

Where a medical negligence claim against a GP relates to treatment after 1st April 2019, the legal claim is defended or settled in the same way as NHS hospital negligence claims, by the NHS’s defence organisation, NHS Resolution. The Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice (CNSGP) covers GPs for any compensation they are ordered to pay to an injured patient as settlement for a negligence claim. Medical negligence claims against anyone employed by the GP’s practice to provide NHS medical services are also covered under the CNSGP scheme. These claims are managed in the same way by NHS Resolution.

Some GP negligence claims relating to treatment before 1st April 2019 are also defended and paid for in the same way. Other claims may be covered by the GP’s own defence organisation. Where more than one GP in the same practice was negligent, for example, where the patient saw several doctors about their symptoms before their medical condition was diagnosed, we identify and notify the defence organisation for each GP, so that our client is paid their full compensation.

Recent GP negligence cases:

£2m compensation for a client who suffered a brain injury after a GP failed to refer them urgently to hospital with signs of subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH).  

£1, 330,000 compensation settlement for a man whose cauda equina syndrome disability was caused by delays in surgical treatment after  an out-of-hours GP failed to refer him immediately to hospital when he presented with red flag cauda equina symptoms.

£1,300,000 for a man with diabetes who required a below-knee amputation after a GP nurse practitioner failed to refer him to a multi-disciplinary foot care (MDFC) clinic for treatment of an infected foot wound. 

£950,000 settlement for a client with diabetes who needed a below knee amputation after GP delays in diagnosis and treatment of Charcot foot. 

£800,000 compensation for a man whose bowel, bladder and sexual function were permanently impaired as a result of a GP’s failure to refer him for urgent treatment for cauda equina syndrome (CES). 

£800,000 settlement for a client who suffered physical and psychological injuries from intensive chemo-radiotherapy treatment as a result of delayed referral, diagnosis and treatment of invasive cervical cancer. 

£400,000 compensation for woman left with permanent bowel and urinary impairments and ‘saddle area’ loss of sensation, and a psychological injury, after GP and hospital delays in diagnosis and treatment of cauda equina syndrome (CES). 

£265,000 in a fatal medical negligence claim for the family of a woman who suffered injuries from chemo-radiotherapy and then died from a recurrence of cervical cancer after GP and hospital delays in diagnosis and treatment. 

£250,000 settlement in a fatal medical negligence claim for a widow whose husband died after three GPs failed to refer him for cardiac care. 

£250,000 settlement in a fatal claim for the family of a young woman after GP delays in arranging a follow-up smear led to delayed diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer. 

£210,000 compensation for a diabetic man who suffered a below-knee amputation as a result of negligent failure by a GP and practise nurse to treat or refer him for treatment of an infection after a minor cut to his foot.

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Meet your specialist team

Our specialist GP negligence claims team are considered leaders in the field and have a significant amount of expertise.
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Susan Brown


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Julie Marsh


Richard Money-Kyrle headshot

Richard Money-Kyrle


Sita Soni headshot

Sita Soni

Senior Associate - solicitor

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Vanessa Wand

Senior associate - solicitor

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Tara Byrne

Associate - Solicitor

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Rachel Makore

Associate - solicitor

Alpa Rana headshot

Alpa Rana

Associate - solicitor

Fran Rothwell

Fran Rothwell

Associate solicitor

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Ben Ireland


Alice Carley headshot

Alice Carley


Audrey Elmore headshot

Audrey Elmore

Medical records coordinator

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Nicky Melville

Professional support assistant

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Julie Marsh headshot
Richard Money-Kyrle headshot
Sita Soni headshot
Vanessa Wand photo
Tara Byrne photo
Rachel Makore headshot
Alpa Rana headshot
Fran Rothwell
Ben Ireland headshot
Alice Carley headshot
Audrey Elmore headshot
Nicky Melville headshot

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Our medical negligence and personal injury teams have been nationally recognised for over 20 years because of their expertise, empathy and commitment to securing maximum compensation for our clients.

              Brake | The Road Safety Charity

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I approached Boyes Turner after my claim was turned down by one of the Medical Negligence Claim company. My wife was a victim of medical negligence.

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