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Your health, your rights The Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities


Part 2: What if my rights have not been respected?

If you think any of your rights have not been respected or that the NHS is not meeting its commitments, you can raise a concern or make a complaint.

  • In the first instance, you should talk to a member of staff involved in your care to see if your concern or complaint can be sorted out immediately.
  • If you do not want to do this, you can speak to the Feedback and Complaints Officer, the person in charge at the NHS organisation involved, or follow the NHS complaints procedure. The leaflet Your health, your rights: Feedback and Complaints tells you how to do this. See Part 3 for information on how to get a copy.

If the NHS in Scotland has not respected your rights and you have been harmed by negligent treatment you have the right to take legal action and make a claim for compensation.

  • Negligent treatment is when care provided falls below the reasonable standard to be expected in the circumstances and causes physical or mental injury or death.
  • Depending on the individual circumstances, you may be entitled to compensation if you can prove through legal action that you have been harmed by a negligent act of the NHS in Scotland.
  • If you think you may be entitled to compensation you are strongly advised to seek legal advice. To make a claim you or your solicitor should write directly to NHS National Services Scotland's Central Legal Office (CLO) who will then investigate the claim. See Part 3 for contact details. Details of solicitors who specialise in handling negligence claims can be found on the Law Society of Scotland website (www.lawscot.org.uk) or by phoning 0131 226 7411.

You have the right to seek judicial review if you think you have been directly affected by an unlawful act or decision of an NHS body.

  • Judicial review is a court process that allows you to challenge a decision made by or action of an NHS body because you think it is unlawful. It looks primarily at how the decision was made rather than what was decided.
  • As a general rule, you have the right to seek judicial review if your personal interests are affected by the action or decision you wish to challenge.

If you want a decision to be judicially reviewed, you should seek independent legal advice.

You may be subject to legal action if:

  • you are abusive, violent or aggressive towards staff or other patients, their carers and family members.