Call me back

Patient care and medical negligence in the NHS

15th June 2017

How was your care? If you think you may have experienced clinical negligence as a hospital inpatient and that this has had any long term effect, please go to our medical negligence page for more information on how to get in touch.

Poor care as an inpatient of a hospital can directly lead to medical negligence. Patient care ensures that the basic needs required for healing are met and also that patients are treated with dignity, and that their experience of the hospital does not add to the potential trauma of their illness.  Medical negligence can not only lead to further physical injury but also contribute to developing things such as mental health issues such as PTSD or anxiety. Poor care can also slow the healing process; potentially resulting in the delayed return to employment and therefore loss of earnings.

Patient Safety Incidents

In 2015/16 there were 1,811,175 patient safety incidents reported by the NHS, 1,338,819 occurred in hospitals. A patient safety incident is any incident that has the potential to jeopardise a patient’s safety, care or treatment. Most of these result in little to no harm to the patient, and can include incidents where the patient has brought harm to themselves.

In 2015/16 however, 57,598 of these incidents resulted in moderate harm, 5,569 resulted in severe harm and 4,371 resulted in death. These incidents are reported by staff themselves within the NHS.

Of the 1.3 million incidents reported from hospitals in 2015/16, 171,495 were related to the implementation of care or on-going monitoring of the patient. 100,328 were related to the staffing, facilities and environment and 4,864 were reported incidents of patient abuse, either by a staff member or third party.

Written Complaints

In the same year, only 116,180 complaints were made to the NHS by patients about hospitals. This is a huge gulf between those potentially experiencing a patient safety incident, and those who submit a written complaint. 19,283 of those complaints were about patient care, including access to food and water while at hospital.

17,707 complaints were made about staff behaviour and values in the same year.

Patient Satisfaction

The NHS surveys hospital inpatients annually to determine ‘trust scores’ with their national patient survey programme. These are average scores out of 100, averaged out using a detailed questionnaire. The scores are given across five categories:

1. Access & waiting,

2. Safe, high quality, coordinated care

3. Better information, more choice

4. Building closer relationships

5. Clean, friendly, comfortable place to be

In 2015/16 the scores were:

Access & waiting: 84.5

Safe, high quality, coordinated: 66.3

Better information, more choice: 69.3

Building closer relationships: 85.4

Clean, friendly, comfortable places to be: 81.1

Safe, high quality, coordinated care was the lowest average score out of 100 at 66.3. These scores have improved consistently over the past few years but safe, high quality, coordinated care remains the lowest average score out of all five.

Each hospital has its own trust scores and these are used as recommendations for hospitals to make improvements.

The care quality commission also independently regulates hospitals and publishes its findings and this year it has declared 16 hospitals inadequate. You can find the data on their latest inspections here.

Compensation Paid

What does this all add up to? Poor care, inadequate hospitals, bad attitudes from staff can all be contributing factors to incidents of medical negligence. It affects healing, experience and communication across every area of hospital care. It can have such a profound effect, that it discourages people from seeking further treatment.

Your care can be something as basic as access to food and water.

In 2015/16, the NHS paid £1,488.5 million in clinical negligence compensation, with 10,000 new cases lodged in that year alone. If you have been treated in hospital and feel something was not quite right, or are still suffering the effects of your stay; we can help. Seeking medical negligence compensation is not only about being financially reimbursed for any suffering or loss of earnings, but also helps you get the answers you deserve. An experienced medical negligence solicitor will handle your case, looking into what happened to identify any possible incidences of liability.

We understand that your experience can be really difficult to talk about and so if you do want a confidential chat about your experience, our calls are free and handled as sensitively as possible.     


If you would like a copy of our NHS Care Report Infographic, click the link to download here.

NHS care infographic