- Cancer Information
- Legal, work and financial issues
- Cancer care and your rights
- Health care complaints
- Medical negligence
Health professionals have a duty to treat patients with reasonable care and skill. If you receive an injury or suffer loss that was caused by inadequate treatment or care, you may be able to make a claim for compensation (medical negligence claim). Inadequate treatment may include failure to diagnose or treat promptly, failure to advise you of risks of procedures, or giving you the wrong medicine. Medical negligence claims about cancer diagnosis and care are uncommon.
In most states and territories, the time limit for lodging a complaint is generally three years from the date the injury occurred. Proving negligence can be difficult – you may have to attend court, and the process can be expensive. If you think you may have a claim, it’s important to obtain legal advice from a lawyer who specialises in medical negligence. To find a suitable lawyer, contact the Law Society in your state or territory.
Toni Ashmore, Cancer and Ambulatory Services, Canberra Health Services, ACT; Baker McKenzie, Pro Bono Legal Adviser, NSW; Marion Bamblett, Acting Nurse Unit Manager, Cancer Centre, South Metropolitan Health Service, Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA; David Briggs, Consumer; Naomi Catchpole, Social Worker, Metro South Health, Princess Alexandra Hospital, QLD; Tarishi Desai, Legal Research Officer, McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, VIC; Kathryn Dwan, Manager, Policy and Research, Health Care Consumers Association, ACT; Hayley Jones, Manager, Treatment and Supportive Care, McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, VIC; Victoria Lear, Cancer Care Coordinator, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, QLD; Deb Roffe, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Michelle Smerdon, National Pro Bono Manager, Cancer Council NSW.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
The information on this page is also available for download.
Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum
Need legal and financial assistance?
Pro bono services, financial and legal assistance, and no interest loans
Looking for transport, accommodation or home help?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment