Claims for late treatment medical negligence

When a hospital doctor or general practitioner delays in providing treatment this can represent a breach of their duty of care.

Delay in treatment can be as a result of a wrong or delayed diagnosis or it can result from a failure to refer. It may simply happen because a doctor thinks s/he has referred you but you never receive the operation, treatment or therapy that you need. In such cases the hospital trust or GP practice is still responsible for negligent failure of the administration of their service.

If treatment is delayed it can be extremely detrimental to a patient’s long term prognosis and may even prove fatal.

Delayed treatment and coronavirus delays

Due to the COVID crisis, many patients with serious medical conditions, such as cancer, have had surgery or other treatments delayed with adverse results. It may be that in many circumstance these delays will be considered reasonable given the prevailing circumstances and certain delays have been reasonably explained by this.

However, this will not always be the case and some delayed treatment will still be negligent notwithstanding coronavirus delays.

Make a claim for delayed treatment with specialist medical negligence solicitors

If you think your treatment has been negligently delayed and you have suffered harm as a result we will provide a free no obligation first meeting to assess the circumstances and advise you if we think you have a case and whether your claim for medical negligence compensation is likely to be successful.

Contact our medical negligence team by filling in our quick enquiry form.

Failure to provide or arrange treatment

Similarly, a breach of duty of care will have occurred if a doctor’s negligence leads to a failure to provide or arrange treatment.

CASE STUDY: In 2019, the British Medical Journal reports, a locum consultant oncologist, who qualified in South Africa in 1969, was struck off by a medical tribunal for failing to provide cancer patients with the treatment he had assured them he would arrange.

The locum had been working at two NHS trusts and following an initial complaint from the husband of a cancer patient under his care, 11 further patient grievances were raised against him. As a result of the enquiry, numerous failings emerged including the absence of proper treatment plans for patients and inappropriate patient communication.

The doctor’s clinical skills and organisation of patient treatment were found to be below standard and the medical tribunal found that his conduct and actions had caused real harm, pain, suffering and distress to the patients and their families.

Failure to Organise Proper Testing

A further breach of a doctor’s duty of care may occur if they fail to arrange the appropriate tests to help diagnose illnesses and conditions.

For example, doctors are trained to associate certain symptoms with certain illnesses and in order to diagnose them conclusively the patient may need to provide blood samples, urine samples, and biopsies for laboratory testing, or they may need x-rays and scans.

If a doctor fails to make sure a patient has the appropriate tests and the patient suffers harm as a result, perhaps because this failure caused a delay in getting treatment, then this could mean that medical negligence has occurred.

Sometimes symptoms of serious conditions have similar symptoms to more minor illnesses and injuries, but medical practitioners owe their patients a duty of care to test appropriately.

For instance, some of the symptoms of sepsis are similar to other illnesses. Early sepsis symptoms include fever, chills and shivering, fast heartbeat, and fast breathing, however, these symptoms can also be attributed to other conditions such as anxiety, panic attacks, bronchiolitis and the common cold. It is the doctor’s obligation to ensure that all symptoms, as well as medical history, are considered so that the proper testing can be used to ascertain a proper diagnosis.

If sepsis is not diagnosed quickly through blood and urine tests and perhaps chest x-rays and other scans to rule out pneumonia and meningitis, the delay in treating the condition can prove fatal.

Causing harm

If, as a direct result of delayed diagnosis, failure to provide treatment or failure to organise proper testing, you suffer harm that would not have occurred had you received treatment, then you may be able to make a claim for medical negligence compensation.

Such claims are complex and you will need to seek expert legal advice in order to bring a successful case against the doctor who failed you.

Make a medical negligence claim for GP and doctor failures with Wellers Law

If you feel you have suffered as a result of doctor failures, or perhaps a family member was failed, talk to the medical negligence team at Wellers Law Group today.

Our free, no-obligation first meeting will give you the chance to tell us what happened and we will then be able to establish whether your claim has a good chance of success.

You can contact us by filling in our enquiry form at the top of the page or by calling 0208 290 7958. Alternatively, please email your details to