Cosmetic surgery

Frequently asked questions

I had my surgery at a private hospital. Can I bring a claim against the hospital and/or surgeon?
Yes. A claim against a private hospital and/or surgeon is the same procedure as a claim against an NHS organisation or an NHS doctor. The surgeon and the hospital should have insurance against negligence claims.

They have a duty of care towards you to provide you with reasonable treatment and aftercare in the same way that an NHS organisation or an NHS doctor has a duty of care in providing treatment.I am unhappy with the results of my cosmetic surgery and I want to complain. What is the complaints procedure for private hospitals and/or surgeons?

Private hospitals must have a complaints procedure by law. You should therefore contact them and ask for the details of their complaints procedure or, alternatively, the details of their complaints procedure may have been provided in the paperwork that you have received from the hospital.

In some cases, the complaint procedure can resolve your concerns/issues. If it doesn’t then you should consider bringing a claim against the hospital.

If your complaint is more serious in nature and is against an individual private surgeon, then the General Medical Council (GMC) may be willing to investigate your complaint. The GMC will consider the circumstances of your complaint and the surgeon’s actions and then they will consider whether to take any disciplinary action against the surgeon concerned.

For more details about the GMC please visit their website www.gmc-uk.org/making a complaint.

Can I bring a claim if my treatment/surgery was carried out abroad?
Unfortunately, our firm only deals with claims against NHS Organisations, private hospitals in England and Wales or private doctors practising in England and Wales.

There are some solicitors firms who will deal with claims where surgery/treatment was carried out abroad and we would suggest that you contact the Law Society to try and locate an appropriate firm. The Law Society’s website is www.lawsociety.org.uk.

I have made a complaint and my surgeon has offered to rectify my surgery. Should I go ahead?
It is your decision. If you are not happy with your initial treatment, then you may have lost confidence in your surgeon’s abilities and you may wish to consider seeking a second opinion.

Even if the surgeon rectifies the surgery, you may still have a valid claim against them for the initial surgery, if it was carried out negligently.

If you do bring a claim, you have a duty to try and mitigate (reduce) any losses/injury you have suffered. You may therefore need to have further surgery in order to fulfil this duty.

However, any medical/surgical treatment is ultimately your decision.

How much compensation could I receive from my claim?
This will depend upon the severity of your injuries and the extent of your financial losses and expenses.

You can claim for your pain, suffering and loss of amenity as a result of negligent treatment. These are called general damages and can include actual pain, scarring, recovery times and any recognised psychological injury you have suffered.

The figure for a general damages award is usually based upon case law.

You can also claim for your financial losses and expenses. These are called special damages and can include medical expenses and travel expenses.

I do not think that I was told about the risks of undergoing the cosmetic surgery and I am unhappy about the physical outcome. Can I make a claim?
It is often the case in cosmetic surgery claims that although the procedure itself was carried out to a reasonable standard of care, the outcome following the procedure was not what the client expected. This comes down to the information which the doctor gave at the consultation prior to agreeing to undergo surgery. The doctor must give sufficient reasonable information about the risks of the surgery in order for you to make an informed decision as to whether you wish to elect to have the surgery – this is referred to as "informed consent". If it is found that the doctor did not give reasonable information and therefore you did not give informed consent to the operation then you may be able to claim for the pain and suffering of the operation (and future operations), in addition to the cost of the surgery itself and other financial losses.
 

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