Definition - Clinical Negligence
Area of Law: Clinical Negligence

Clinical Negligence


Clinical Negligence - often referred to as medical malpractice, is any act or omission by a health care professional (doctor or nurse) which falls short of the standard of care expected by a 'reasonable man' and which causes injury or death.

Negligence can only be proved if it is possible to show that the standard of care provided by the medical practitioner fell below standard provided by a reasonably competent health care professional. Negligence can also occur with acts and omissions made/caused as a result of decisions made by a health care professional in that capacity.

Negligence is proved when either the act or omission is admitted by the health care professional or their employer or there is a determination of negligence made by a legally acknowledged court or tribunal. The term health care professionals refers to surgeons, doctors, nurses, dentists, midwives, pharmacists, opticians and members of ancillary related professions.

It is often difficult to establish the competence of the health care professional in question and whether, during the circumstances in question, that has fallen below the accepted professional standard. This has led to the adoption of the Bolam Test which measures the standard of care given against that of other professionals in the same field.

If a significant number of other health care professionals in the same field would have acted in the same way when faced with the same circumstances then the professional in question will not be found to have been negligent.

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Clinical Negligence Specialists