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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.

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.

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?

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?

GP claims cases

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

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"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

"The journey with Julie was interesting! "

From a speculative inquiry to a life changing award, the journey with Julie Marsh was interesting. Julie kept me informed along the way explaining exactly what was going on and more importantly why. The team that was assembled certainly knew their stuff which meant I got all the necessary support to keep going. Thank you all. 

Kevin Ridsdale

"Successfully negotiated a full and fair compensation"

Boyes Turner staff were always helpful and quick to respond. Communicating from the other side of the world presented no problems. Boyes Turner secured generous early interim payments that allowed me to continue my (non-funded) medical treatment that otherwise I could never have afforded. My Boyes Turner solicitor successfully negotiated a full and fair compensation and continuation of funding for future medical treatment and associated costs giving me great peace of mind. Thank you so much Annabelle! I would recommend Boyes Turner solicitors. They are professional, courteous and helpful. 

Brian

"More compensation than expected"

"Boyes Turner provided us really great support and the staff are very professional & supportive. They kept us up to date at all stages and helped us win the case. We got more compensation than expected. We will definitely recommend them to our friends". 

Boyes Turner client

"Clear and understandable advice"

Your explanations and advice were clear and understandable and seemed eminently sensible. Clearly they were, with the result achieved. 

Eddie West