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Prescription Error Compensation

What to do if you’ve been given incorrect medication

Health care services in the UK are busier than ever, which means they’re often under pressure. As a result, mistakes can sometimes happen during patient care, including the prescription of incorrect medicines or drugs.

Nobody should have to deal with the consequences of someone else’s mistake. When you go to a medical professional, you put your full trust in their care and it can be upsetting when you don’t receive the standard of treatment you expected.

If you’ve been given the wrong type of medication, it can be difficult to know who was at fault – but you can ask for help. Call a trained legal adviser free on 0800 234 6438 and they can let you know whether they think you might be able to make a claim.

The effects of incorrect prescriptions

Illness can often be avoided by not continuing to take the medication once you’ve realised it’s been wrongly prescribed. But sometimes, even taking a small amount of incorrect medicines or tablets can cause serious damage to your body.

In the short term, taking incorrect prescriptions can cause mild symptoms such as nausea or headaches. But in more severe cases, you might experience:

But as well as causing you to become ill, incorrect prescriptions can also mean you weren’t getting the treatment you needed in the first place – this can cause your condition to get worse, and can even have life-changing consequences.

Who’s at fault for a prescription error?

It can sometimes be difficult to tell who’s at fault for a prescription error, but a trained legal adviser will be able to help you understand who’s liable, and whether you could make a compensation claim. You can reach one for free on 0800 234 6438.

Errors can be made by any doctor or medical professional who prescribes medication or is responsible for giving you the correct dosage.

For example, a doctor or GP might misdiagnose your condition, or they may write you a prescription for antibiotics that contains an ingredient you’re allergic to, or something that’s incompatible with another medication you’re taking.

Pharmacists are usually responsible for dispensing your medication according to the prescription from your doctor. They must make sure not only to give you the correct product, but also the right dosage and instructions on how to take it. If they fail to do so, and you fall ill as a result, you could make a claim for compensation.

Claiming against the NHS

The National Health Service (NHS) is responsible for the majority of health care in the UK. This means when you receive poor treatment from NHS staff, it can feel even more frustrating.

The NHS do have a system in place for you to make a formal complaint, but if you’re not satisfied that your concerns and needs have been met, then you might think about making a compensation claim.

You may be worried that by making a claim against the NHS, you’ll be affecting the level of care that other patients receive. But the NHS is insured to deal with these types of cases, so your claim won’t stop other people getting the treatment they need.

Find out more about making a claim against the NHS

Prescription errors by private clinicians

Not everyone uses NHS doctors – some people prefer to pay for private treatment from independent doctors. You might be worried that if you’re starting a claim against a private clinician, then you won’t have the same protection as with the NHS. But that’s simply not the case.

All private health clinics are monitored and regulated by the Care Quality Commission, as well as the General Medical Council (GMC). This means that if you’ve been given an incorrect prescription from a private doctor, then that practice hasn’t followed the set code demonstrated by the GMC, and you could claim compensation.

Starting a claim

Making the decision to claim following a prescription error can seem daunting, and if you’re still receiving treatment from the doctor or chemist who you think was at fault, then you might be worried that you’ll be treated differently as a result.

You don’t need to worry about this: by law, doctors and health care professionals must treat patients equally – even if you’ve made a complaint about their practice.

If you suspect that you’ve been given the wrong medication by either your GP or chemist, you should:

Then, we’d recommend getting in touch with a trained legal adviser to find out more about making a compensation claim. You can call one on 0800 234 6438 for free. They’ll be able to let you know whether they think you can claim, and they can pass you on to the right solicitor for your case.

Last updated on: 3rd March 2020

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