Q: Due to the coronavirus pandemic my GP surgery has only offered telephone consultations since March 2020. In June I tripped over a tree root and experienced severe knee pain. When the pain had not subsided two weeks later, I got a remote GP appointment and was told to take painkillers and rest. Four weeks later it was no better, and my GP referred me for physio.
It took a month to get a video appointment with a physio, who diagnosed a Baker’s Cyst. I was given daily exercises and a subsequent follow-up appointment that never happened. In December, in desperation, I had a private scan which revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament that now requires reconstructive surgery followed by lengthy physiotherapy. My GP cannot indicate how long it will take to get this on the NHS so to avoid further pain and damage I must pay privately again. Can I claim against the NHS?
A: Substandard treatment by a medical professional can be classed as Medical Negligence. That includes an injury or condition made worse by treatment you are given. In your case you were not physically given any treatment as you did not physically see anyone at your consultations. However, the prescribing of bad advice that results in a condition worsening can be viewed as a negligent action and may qualify for compensation
As there was more than one medical practitioner involved in your remote consultations there were clearly several opportunities missed to correctly investigate and diagnose your injury. As a result of that, correct diagnosis was delayed, and you have probably suffered a significantly worse outcome from your injury. In addition, you have incurred considerable costs to get a correct diagnosis and now also face having to pay for private surgery and physiotherapy to avoid further delay, pain and physical damage. You should make an appointment to see a solicitor immediately.
Article January 2021
This question has been answered by Claire Parfitt, a Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email.