There are often situations in which patients feel they are being treated unlawfully by the clinic’s personnel, and even in a case with private healthcare providers. Incidents of unjust patient treatment have recently increased in the UK, which resulted into numerous legal appeals. Solicitors in Manchester report they have received an unprecedented number of advice requests concerned with discrimination in healthcare organizations in the last three months.
As long as you experience unfair service attitude from a healthcare provider based on the fact of who you are, you are likely to be discriminated and have every right to directly sue either the healthcare worker engaged, or the institution itself.
Discrimination issues are regulated by the Equality Act 2010: all prejudiced actions that contradict the Act are defined as unlawful. Prior to filing a lawsuit, you are to ensure there has actually been a discriminative assault. Given the case does not match the criteria of a discrimination act, you are still authorized to submit a formal complaint as long as you feel having been treated inappropriately. In any case, it is more than great to find a solicitor quick and easy who would provide you with qualified legal help on the matter.
Here are some tips on how to recognize an act of discrimination by a health care provider:
1. Find out the direct reason for unfair treatment – this must relate to some of your personal characteristics. The ones protected by the Equality Act 2010 are: age, sex, race, disability, pregnancy and maternity, religion, sexual orientation.
2. Define the exact action that evolved into “discrimination”. According to the Equality Act, healthcare institutions and their personnel have no rights to do the following based on an individual’s background:
- Decline your service application
- Stop serving
- Provide a service of an inadequate quality
- Cause a detriment (harm, damage)
- Harass – disturb, offend or intimidate you
- Perform so-called victimization – do you some sort of harm as a punishment measure for complaining about discrimination.
How to protect your interests if being discriminated by a healthcare institution
As soon as you have identified an act of unlawful discrimination performed by a healthcare provider against you or your relatives, you have every right to take legal action against the person involved or the whole organization. Such discrimination claims are usually submitted in the County Court. Mind that a legal action involves a long tense process, which also requires certain money (especially if you lose the case and will have to pay the legal costs).
Also remember about fixed time limits within which you are allowed to make a discrimination claim: make sure it is no later than six months after the moment the act of discrimination took place. This is especially appropriate when you first try to solve the issue informally.
Furthermore, you might be happy to learn that there is a chance you can get legal aid to pay the court costs. For that, you must match the eligibility criteria, which you can check on the GOV.UK.
In order to prove the fact of having been discriminated by a healthcare institution you must collect as many “offensive” facts as possible: be sure to keep related emails and other documentary evidence, do not hesitate to ask for additional treatment information from the offender on the basis of Freedom of Information request.
As long as you have enough information to support your claim and the judge decides that an act of discrimination has taken place, the court can order the institution to provide you compensation or perform an injunction.