Advocating for yourself in healthcare
Often, incidents of medical negligence occur, even if patients flag problems to their doctor. You may not feel able to advocate for yourself, so we want to empower people that haven’t felt listened to by providing resources allowing you to be your own advocate.
How our toolkit helps
Often, the hardest part about making sure your voice is heard is knowing what to say in the first place. Our advocacy toolkit helps do just that. By downloading our template, you will have a letter, drafted by a legal professional allowing you to highlight poor care to your healthcare provider. This is the ideal tool to use to help make sure that an incident of medical negligence doesn’t occur, and you receive fair treatment of a high standard. Our advocacy hub and blog content are also filled with tips and advice on:
- Your rights as a patient
- Third parties and charities you can contact for support
- What to do if you do experience medical negligence
Download our self-advocacy tool kit hereClick here to download
What is medical negligence?
Medical negligence, or clinical negligence, occurs when patients receive inadequate care from medical professionals, leading to the worsening of existing conditions or in some instances, the development of new ones. Despite patients expressing their concerns, medical negligence can still happen. In such cases, it may be possible to seek compensation.
can be intricate – they require knowledge of the medical conditions resulting from negligence, as well as the understanding of medical procedures and mistakes causing those conditions. Therefore, it’s crucial to engage a specialised medical negligence solicitor to represent you if you choose to make a claim.
What is advocacy?
Advocacy in healthcare involves actively supporting and representing patients' rights, needs, and interests within the healthcare system.
Advocates play a crucial role in helping communication and coordination between patients and healthcare providers. Dealing with medical issues can be emotionally challenging for families – an advocate can help you navigate your medical journey and ensure patient-centred care.
You can seek support from someone else to act as your advocate, providing assistance and helping you explore different options. Your advocate can be a family member, friend or someone affiliated through an organisation or charity.
Whilst having a third-party advocate can be beneficial in securing the necessary healthcare treatment, it is important for you to also learn how to advocate for yourself. Given that our latest research shows that 44% of people wouldn't feel confident challenging a doctor if they believed they had been misdiagnosed, self-advocacy is crucial in making sure you get the treatment you need.
Why it’s important to advocate for yourself
Advocating for yourself in a healthcare setting is important for many reasons. By making sure your voice is heard and your concerns are acknowledged, you can actively participate in your own healthcare decisions.
Self-advocacy also helps to promote open communication and understanding between patients and healthcare providers. By asking questions, seeking clarification, and sharing relevant information, you can contribute to more accurate diagnoses, appropriate treatments, and improved overall care. It can also help prevent medical errors and ensure the delivery of personalised and patient-centred care. One in five people have been misdiagnosed by a medical professional so it happens more often than you would think.
For instance, if a female patient’s symptoms are dismissed or attributed solely to gender stereotypes, they may need to assert their concerns and demand proper medical attention. Alternatively, individuals facing mental health challenges may encounter stigma or discrimination in healthcare settings – voicing their needs and advocating for themselves allows them to challenge discriminatory treatment or assumptions about their condition.
How to advocate for yourself in a healthcare setting
To be your own advocate, it’s important to educate yourself about your health condition. Take time to gather reliable information through research so that you can have informed discussions with healthcare professionals. Here are some valuable resources to help you feel confident in a healthcare setting:
- : providing support to those who have suffered medical negligence
- : offering legal guidance and support to older individuals and families who have suffered abuse and neglect
- : independent charity campaigning for improvements in health and social care for patients
Whether you're seeing a GP, a mental health specialist or an A&E doctor, be prepared and organised for your appointment. During the visit, actively engage in the conversation, ask for clarification when necessary, and openly share your thoughts and preferences. If you feel that your concerns are not adequately addressed or think your doctor hasn’t listened to you, don't hesitate to seek a second opinion or ask for further explanation. It’s important to make sure you’re listened to and understood. If you still don’t feel like your voice is being heard, download our advocacy support pack which contains template letters you can use to send to your healthcare provider highlighting and recording the poor quality of care you believe you have received.
How Slater and Gordon can help
Our aim is to foster a culture of self-advocacy. We believe that education and awareness are important in making sure individuals can make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing. By sharing accessible tools and knowledge, we want to empower individuals and ultimately improve health outcomes for everyone.
Our medical negligence team know the importance of supporting you and your family through this most difficult time and will be sensitive to your needs and challenges. Several of our solicitors are also ranked in independent legal bodies, like the and . We also have trained midwives and nurses on our team with the expert knowledge to help with your case.
Meet the medical negligence experts
Meet our specialist medical negligence team, many of which are considered 'Leaders in their field' with a significant amount of expertise.