The Public Cost Of Private Medical Treatment

It is estimated that up to 6,000 patients a year require NHS care following treatment at a private hospital as a result of poorly performed surgery.  Almost 2,500 of those cases are deemed to be emergencies where patients have to be rushed to their nearest NHS hospital, often for life saving treatment.

A recent report by the British Medical Association (BMA) suggests that some private hospitals lack sufficient intensive care beds to deal with emergencies if things go wrong during surgery.  It is also reported that many private hospitals have inadequate medical cover for when mistakes occur.

The BMA report highlights concerns about the training of doctors and nurses at non-NHS hospitals and worries that private organisations are leaving the NHS to deal with any complications.  The report warns that patients are not always assessed properly and some private hospitals fail to monitor what happens after surgery.

Wolferstans has seen an increase in the number of clients contacting us following complications arising from private treatment. One such case involved breast augmentation where the private surgeon failed to provide the patient with sufficient information during the pre-operative consultation as to what to expect in relation to the surgery, recovery time or potential risks and complications.  Having undergone surgery, the patient not only developed post-operative complications but remained very dissatisfied with the results.  She sought a second opinion and was advised that she had undergone the wrong type of operation for the result she had expected and that her surgeon ought to have discussed this with her during her pre-operative consultation.   As a result the patient underwent a second operation but remained embarrassed by her appearance and developed depression as a result.  During the course of the claim, evidence for the Claimant confirmed that the surgeon failed to understand the patient’s exact requirements and discuss the need for a different type of augmentation at the outset, representing substandard treatment.  The Claimant was awarded £20,000 in damages.

Wolferstans’ clinical negligence team have a wealth of experience in all kinds of negligence claims, against both the NHS and private healthcare providers , and their specialist lawyers regularly help people recover compensation for any physical or psychological injuries sustained as a result of substandard care.

If you or a member of your family have suffered an injury as a result of medical negligence and you would like to receive some free initial legal advice, without obligation, please contact Jade Wilkes on 01752 292248 or email her at

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