GPs are responsible for the treatment of common medical conditions, and for referring their patients to hospitals and other medical service providers in the event that urgent or specialist treatment is required.

Doctors play an enormous role in looking after all manner of patients in Irish communities. Their work is demanding and diverse and, though uncommon, they can occasionally make mistakes that constitute malpractice.

If you have experienced a low standard of care from a General Practitioner, you may be entitled to a medical negligence claim for compensation.

To make a claim get in touch with a Medical Negligence Solicitor today.

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What is GP Negligence

GP negligence is when it can be proven that your medical condition deteriorated because your Doctor did not possess the appropriate skill level or was unable to demonstrate the appropriate skill level, in treating your illness or injury, you may be entitled to compensation.

In Ireland, it must be shown that, had your GP referred you to a specialist, the specialist would have been able to treat your condition accordingly.

GP negligence can refer to:

  • Mistreatment
  • Failure to apply the right course of action in response to test results.

Given the broad scope for misconduct in an industry as grey and complex as healthcare, if you feel as though you have been the victim of GP negligence, your best option is to seek professional legal advice from an experienced team of solicitors.

Hughes & Associates Solicitors operate out of Dublin and can provide vast experience on cases of medical negligence. Talk to us about your case by emailing info@hughessolicitors.ie or phoning +353 1 891 0020.

Types of GP Negligence

GP negligence covers a wide range of potential cases of malpractice. Some examples that often arise are:

  • Failure to refer a patient to an appropriate specialist for treatment of their condition.
  • Failure to correctly investigate a patient’s symptoms leading to a late or inaccurate diagnosis.
  • Failure to act accordingly on test results, resulting in a patient’s condition deteriorating.
  • Inadequate record keeping of information relating to a patient.
  • Incorrect or harmful prescriptions resulting in a patient receiving the wrong medication for the treatment of their condition.
  • Administration of defective or inadequate medication or a failure to properly review the drugs distributed to patients.

Irish College of General Practitioners

Standards for GP conduct in Ireland are set by the ICGP and the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA). Their aim is to uphold general practitioners as key providers of quality and safe care in the primary care setting.

When a GP is in breach of ICGP standards, they may be guilty of clinical negligence. Medical practitioners owe a duty of care to their patients and there is an onus on GPs to uphold their own standards.

How to Prove GP Negligence

To prove GP negligence, a case must show that a patient’s condition would have been better had they received treatment from another GP or medical professional upholding reasonable medical standards.

If a GP fails to ensure the health and safety of their patients to a reasonable degree, they may be liable for medical negligence.

How long do I have to make a claim after experiencing GP Negligence?

In Ireland, the statute of limitations for a clinical or GP negligence claim is two years. This period begins on the date that your injury, illness or disability is known to have been sustained.

This date of knowledge is particularly important in deciding how long you may have to file a claim for GP negligence.

If you have been the victim of a GP’s malpractice, try to ascertain:

  • The exact date you realised or were made aware that you had incurred an illness or injury or discovered that you had been misdiagnosed.
  • The extent and significance of your medical condition.
  • The fault of the medical practitioner and the extent of their actions or inactions.
  • The identity of the GP in question.

Because of the nature of this legal system, there are circumstances under which you may make a successful GP negligence claim years after the incident initially took place.

For example, if you are diagnosed with cancer and begin a course of medication that lasts several years but then discover that the practitioner’s diagnosis was incorrect, your date of knowledge may be five or six years on from the basis for your case.

It is only when you become aware of the negligence that your two-year statute of limitations period begins.

Making a GP Negligence Claim for Children and Adolescents

The statute of limitations works differently for those under the age of eighteen. A minor cannot legally put forward their own case for medical negligence.

If you are under eighteen and wish to file a case for GP negligence, your two-year period begins on the date of your eighteenth birthday. This gives minors more time to make a case for compensation in the event of malpractice.

Alternatively, a parent or guardian can file a GP negligence case for their child if they are below the age of eighteen. This is often the most common outcome as a primary caregiver is more likely to be in possession of the child’s medical records.

GP Negligence Claims for Persons with Disabilities

The statute of limitations also applies differently to anyone deemed to be under a disability. This is legally defined as a person lacking the mental or cognitive capacity to act legally on their own behalf.

It applies to patients whose mental state has been impaired. A common example is a patient whose condition has left them in a coma.

Irish Injuries Board

The Personal Injuries Assessment Board is the government body in charge of making personal injury awards. They are designed to speed up the process of assessment in personal injury claims.

Almost all personal injury claims are reviewed by the PIAB but medical or GP negligence is a notable exception. As a result, you will require a solicitor to initiate legal proceedings with your clinical negligence claim.

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Steps to Take Following an Incidence of GP Negligence

  1. Address your medical condition – your health is always the priority. Assess the degree of your injury and seek appropriate care from a medical professional.
  2. Seek medical advice – expert medical advice will be crucial in proving your condition suffered as a result of your initial treatment. Get in touch with a specialist that can guide you on your current state.
  3. Document the incident – gather your medical records. You can request clinical records from the hospital or GP’s, or you can have your solicitor obtain them for you.
  4. Record loss of earnings – keep track of any expenses you incur in the aftermath of your accident. Record any lost earnings from time spent out of work as a result of your condition.
  5. Seek legal guidance – make contact with an experienced Medical Negligence solicitor. Hughes Solicitors are based in Dublin and provide expert legal guidance on clinical negligence cases.

Claiming GP Negligence in Ireland

If your medical condition suffered an as a result of inadequate or incompetent care from a general practitioner, it is crucial you contact a solicitor with experience in hospital negligence claims.

At Hughes & Associates Medical Negligence Solicitors, we offer vast experience in GP negligence cases and can assess your case for compensation with the utmost care and attention to detail.

Based in Dublin and serving Irish claimants, we are available for enquiries via email at info@hughessolicitors.ie or by phoning us on +353 1 891 0020.

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