What to Do if Your Child’s Medical Condition wasn’t Diagnosed

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Georgina Emsley

Solicitor, Medical Negligence

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In the UK, we all expect a certain standard of care when we go the doctors, and that’s certainly true if you’re taking your child for a medical appointment. So if something goes wrong with your child’s care and they didn’t receive a diagnosis for a medical condition, it can be extremely upsetting and have serious long-term consequences.

However, there are a number of options available to you as a parent/guardian, and, of course, it’s your right to choose whichever you feel is best for you and your family.

For free legal advice get in touch with our Medical Negligence Solicitors. We may be able to deal with your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis – ask us for details.

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No Diagnosis Given

There can be many reasons why your child didn’t get a diagnosis. As with any medical condition, it’s important not to jump to the wrong conclusion. But while doctors are highly trained and cases of negligence are rare, sometimes things do go wrong , and you should be prepared for this.

However, sometimes whilst going through the motions of different medical tests and treatments, mistakes can and do happen. Although there is an accepted standard practice with some conditions, medical practice isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ method and sometimes mistakes are made. This can have serious consequences for families that in severe cases can last a lifetime, which is devastating for all of those involved.


What Can You Do?

If something goes wrong with your healthcare, you have options to address it. First, talk to the person or place where you received the service, like your GP or the hospital. You can also complain to the NHS, and this might help you understand what happened and get an apology. Another option is to contact the local integrated care board (ICB) for complaints about primary care (GPs, dentists, etc.) or secondary care (hospital, mental health services, etc.).

The official NHS Complaints Procedure may assist you in understanding what happened, why certain decisions were taken and/or what went wrong. If you remain unsatisfied by this or believe that you are still entitled to compensation for negligence after going through this process, we’re here to help.

Every NHS service in England will have their own complaints procedure and you can contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) who will be able to assist you with your complaint. The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) offers confidential advice, support and information on health related matters. They provide a point of contact for patients, their families and their carers.

You can find PALS officers in your local hospital or find your nearest PALS office on the NHS website. You can also ask your GP surgery, hospital or phone NHS 111 for details of your nearest PALS.

The general rule is that complaints should be made within 12 months of the incident, and you can do this in writing, verbally or by email.

If you require any support with your complaint, then you can contact the NHS Complaints Advocacy service and you can also receive support from the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman.

The NHS Complaints Advocacy Service can help you if you, or someone you know, has not had the care or treatment you expect to receive from your NHS services and you want to complain. Advocacy is there to help you understand and go through the complaints process. Advocates will support you until you receive a satisfactory conclusion or until you no longer want advocacy support.

The Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman make final decisions on complaints that have not been resolved by the NHS in England and UK government departments and other public organisations. They aim to do this fairly and without taking sides, free of any service charge.

You can complain to the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman if an organisation has not acted properly or fairly or has given you a poor service and not put things right. If they decide that the organisation got things wrong that have had a negative effect on you, they can then recommend what it should do about this. They can investigate complaints about the NHS in England and UK government departments and some other public organisations, however you do need to complain to the organisation first. Once your complaint has been made and investigated you’ll receive a written response.

However, if making a complaint isn’t for you, then you don’t have to make a complaint to the NHS or other healthcare professional before you proceed with a medical negligence claim. If you decide that this is the best way forward, then it’s imperative that you speak with specialist Medical Negligence Solicitor at the earliest opportunity.


Time Limits for Medical Negligence Claims

There are important time limits with medical negligence claims and how long you have to make a claim. A child under the age of 18 is unable to bring a claim for themselves as they are too young to do so.

Therefore as a parent or guardian, you are able to represent your child as a Litigation Friend until they reach the age of 18, at which point the general 3 year time limit to pursue a medical negligence claim starts to run and expires on their 21st birthday.

However, if your child is classed as a Protected Party and doesn’t have the capacity to conduct proceedings, the 3 year limit won’t apply. This can be complicated however so it’s important to get legal advice as soon as possible.

At Simpson Millar, we have a dedicated team of Medical Negligence Solicitors, some with medical backgrounds who deal with child medical negligence cases on a daily basis.

We’re happy to talk through your concerns and the next steps we can take together to help bring the matter to a satisfactory conclusion.


How Can We Help?

A successful medical negligence claim isn’t just about getting compensation. With the right compensation settlement, you’ll be in a better position to care for your child and cope with any ongoing physical or emotional problems caused by their symptoms.

It may be that help and assistance can be put in place to help assist with any longer lasting effects of your child’s condition. Similarly, treatments may be available to aid their recovery.

The aim of compensation in the UK is to compensate a person for their losses and to attempt to put them back into the place that they would have been in had the accident or negligence not occurred in the first place. Often that is something which can’t be achieved due to the nature of the impact and the injuries that have been sustained.

However, a negotiated settlement should reflect the severity of harm inflicted and acknowledge the ongoing care and support your child may need. While financial compensation most definitely can’t fully restore what was lost, it will hopefully help to ensure closure and an improved quality of life for your child.


Our team of qualified Medical Negligence Solicitors will undertake all the necessary investigations for you, run your case from start to finish and arrange appointments with all of the appropriate medical specialists. This means that you don’t have to be concerned about the complexity or stress of the claim.

Our expert team will regularly provide you with support and clear, straightforward information and advice throughout the whole medical negligence claims process to reassure you and guide you every step of the way.


If you are looking for a no obligation chat about a possible medical negligence claim on behalf of your child, our friendly and dedicated team is ready and waiting to take your call on 0808 239 6043. Alternatively, you can request a call back and one of our team will contact you as soon as possible. We may even be able to assist you on a No Win, No Fee basis – just ask us about this.

Additionally, if you’ve been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please do not hesitate to seek support which can be found through several organisations, some of which are listed below:

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Georgina Emsley

Solicitor, Medical Negligence

Areas of Expertise:
Medical Negligence

Georgina is a Solicitor who works in our Medical Negligence team here at Simpson Millar, based in our Manchester office.

She is a committed and highly reliable Solicitor with a track record of supporting clients through the process of making a claim to achieve the best outcome for them. Georgina has experience working on many high-value cases with a range of circumstances and complexities from start to finish, where she reviews medical records, liaises with experts and gathers evidence in order to negotiate the best possible settlement for her clients.


‘NHS: Urgent Mental Health Helpline’ by NHS (n.d.) ‘Find an urgent mental health helpline’. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/mental-health/find-an-urgent-mental-health-helpline (Accessed: 30/12/2023).

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NHS. (n.d.). Find your local integrated care board. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/find-your-local-integrated-care-board/ (Accessed: December 30, 2023).

NHS. (n.d.). What is PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service)? Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/hospitals/what-is-pals-patient-advice-and-liaison-service/ (Accessed: December 30, 2023).

NHS. (n.d.). NHS Complaints Advocacy. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/services/service-directory/nhs-complaints-advocacy/N10971865 (Accessed: December 30, 2023).

Simpson Millar Solicitors. (2019). Why I Became a Solicitor After Being a Midwife. Retrieved from https://www.simpsonmillar.co.uk/media/medical-negligence/why-i-became-a-solicitor-after-being-a-midwife/ (Accessed: December 30, 2023).

Simpson Millar Solicitors. (n.d.). Medical Negligence Solicitors. Retrieved from https://www.simpsonmillar.co.uk/medical-negligence-solicitors/ (Accessed: December 30, 2023).

Simpson Millar Solicitors. (n.d.). Contact Us. Retrieved from https://www.simpsonmillar.co.uk/contact-us/ (Accessed: December 30, 2023).

Simpson Millar Solicitors. (n.d.). No Win No Fee Personal Injury Solicitors. Retrieved from https://www.simpsonmillar.co.uk/personal-injury-solicitors/no-win-no-fee-personal-injury-solicitors/ (Accessed: December 30, 2023).

Simpson Millar Solicitors. (n.d.). Home. Retrieved from https://www.simpsonmillar.co.uk/#form (Accessed: December 30, 2023).

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