What is the difference between medical negligence, and beauty treatment negligence?
Many practitioners, particularly in the beauty therapy world, dress their titles up as “clinical”, “non-surgical therapist”, “practitioner” and so on. These are titles designed to inspire confidence and project a more advanced level of training or qualification than they actually have. Just because someone adopts a fancy title, doesn’t mean they are a medical practitioner.
The starting point is the Pre-Action Protocol for the Resolution of Clinical Disputes which is the legal procedure which governs medical negligence claims. The Protocols are said to cover “claims against hospitals, GPs, dentists and other healthcare providers (both NHS and private) which involve an injury that is alleged to be the result of clinical negligence” This does clarify some areas but it still leaves others completely open to interpretation. MG Legal’s specialist medical negligence solicitors are well versed in identifying the difference.
A more accurate way to assess whether your claim is a claim for medical negligence compensation, is to examine the qualifications your practitioner has on their wall. If they went to university, followed by a period of training, which will be done under license with the General Medical Council or a similar Regulatory Body such as the Health and Care Professions Council, then these people are Medical Professionals. These regulatory bodies offer a public register and so, if in doubt, you can always check your practitioner against their list for peace of mind.
If the practitioner went to a College and has a Diploma, they are not a Medical Professional, no matter how fancy their title might be. These people are simply offering a service and whilst they may use needles, chemicals and fancy devices, their treatment is not Medical Treatment.
Why does this matter?
The difference is important, because it governs not only the way in which your claim must be handled, but the types of evidence needed and also the way that the claim, if necessary, will be expected to be proven to the Court. Public Liability claims are often covered by a certain Regulation or definable criteria; often the Highways Act or one of the Occupier’s Liability Acts.
Medical Negligence is different as it is governed by a professional standard and as every individual and circumstance is different there is not always a set practice to follow. As with many areas of the law, precedent, also known as case-law, has set the benchmark and so, this is the test which must be passed when making this type of claim. Two cases in particular govern medical negligence, although others often degrees of clarity on certain points, those you will see most often as:
Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee: A case from the 1950’s which still applies today. The medical practitioner must be proven to have acted “in accordance with a practice accepted as proper by a responsible body of medical men skilled in that particular art”. So, in the art of medicine, if what a practitioner did would be deemed reasonable by a good number of similarly qualified practitioners, the act way probably not negligent. This is often described as the “Bolam Test”.
Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board: This is a much more recent case, from 2015, where the issue of Consent was examined. The Judgement contained the phrase “An adult person of sound mind is entitled to decide which, if any, of the available forms of treatment to undergo, and her consent must be obtained before treatment interfering with her bodily integrity is undertaken”. Quite simply, if you are to have a treatment, you should be made aware of the potential risks of the same. If this instance, if you are not given enough information to give informed consent, even if there is not negligence, you may be entitled to seek compensation because you were not given the opportunity to decide whether you accepted the risk.
If you have a claim for medical negligence compensation, MG Legal will ensure that you are in the best possible position to conclude your claim successfully.