Healthcare

Carson McDowell’s Healthcare Team has unrivalled knowledge and experience of this sector in Northern Ireland. The team advises medical defence organisations, insurers, healthcare practitioners, private clinics, pharmacists, optometrists and care homes.

In addition to defending clinical negligence/medical malpractice claims on behalf of practitioners from across the spectrum of health related disciplines, the Healthcare Team includes three lawyers who are dedicated to defending healthcare professionals in regulatory and disciplinary matters. We have represented the needs of healthcare clients at a range of high profile Inquests and Inquiries, including the Vale of Leven Hospital and the Hyponatraemia Inquiries.

We pride ourselves on adopting a practical and proactive response to the legal problems faced by our clients. In achieving this, we recognise the need for a rapid response. This comes to the fore for many of our clients when facing complaints or enforcement action by regulatory bodies, such as the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority.

We also deal with ethical issues and advice on policy and procedure. Our experience allows us to fully understand and assist with the complex issues surrounding information governance with experience in data protection and freedom of information issues.

The team is the largest Healthcare Team in NI and comprises twelve lawyers specialising exclusively in healthcare law.

Key Contacts

Roger McMillan, Partner, Head of Healthcare, Joint Head of Litigation

Leigh Linton, Partner

Clare Bates, Partner

Jacqueline McAleese, Partner

Claire Harmer, Partner

Francesca Lowry, Associate

Laura Menary, Associate

Ashleigh Birkett, Associate

Rachael McAdorey, Associate

What We Do

We help and support healthcare professionals in the following ways:

  • Management and defence of clinical negligence/medical malpractice claims on behalf of their medical defence organisations and insurers
  • Representation before the General Medical Council, General Dental Council and Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland
  • Advice/representation in disciplinary proceedings brought by employers
  • Advice in relation to enforcement action by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority and registration issues
  • Advice on issues in relation to the Primary Medical Services Performers List
  • Advising in relation to proceedings by the Regional Professional Panel of the Health & Social Care Board
  • Assisting with investigations by the Commissioner of Complaints for Northern Ireland
  • Advice/representation at Inquests
  • Advice in relation to data protection and confidentiality of patient information
  • Training on a range of medico-legal issues
  • Reviewing policies and procedures and advising on legal position and Departmental Guidance and Circulars specific to Northern Ireland
  • Advice/representation at Public Inquiries across the United Kingdom
  • Advice on Mental Health practice and procedure in Northern Ireland
  • Public law advice and judicial review proceedings

What Others Say About Us

Chambers and Partners UK 2016

Clinical Negligence (Band 1)

What the team is known for

Highly esteemed firm with an impressive track record for handling a range of high-profile cases. Well equipped to act for defendant clients on medical, dental and healthcare matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"It's great to have them involved because you know you're going to get excellent service and the matter will be handled well."

"They are exceptional. They have an excellent understanding of this area; they're first-class."

Notable practitioners

Head of department Roger McMillan is "a great strategic thinker," according to peers. Clients describe him as "supportive and readily available," as well as "extremely hard-working and thorough."

Clare Bates continues to be commended for her work on dental claims. Sources highlight her expertise as a litigator, and describe her as "very efficient and well informed."

Jacqueline McAleese is respected for her expertise in this field. Peers report that they"think highly of her," owing to the fact that "she's very sensible" when acting on complex cases.

Sources attest that Claire Harmer is "very competent" at handling a variety of clinical


Professional Discipline

What the team is known for

Represents a range of healthcare professionals in professional discipline matters, including pharmacists and dentists. Regularly acts for practitioners on a private basis and following instructions from indemnity organisations.

Notable practitioners

Leigh Linton is called upon to represent doctors and dentists in disciplinary cases. Clients appreciate her calm organisation.

Roger McMillan heads the firm's healthcare team and is regularly instructed by professional indemnity organisations to defend healthcare practitioners in disciplinary matters.

Significant clients

Medical Protection Society, Dental Protection, Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland.

The Legal 500 2016

What the team is known for

Respected team of practitioners frequently handling healthcare regulatory matters. Frequently acts for medical professionals at all stages of proceedings, ranging from interim to substantive hearings.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They provide an across-the-board service on regulatory and disciplinary advice and ombudsman cases - top-notch service."

"They're excellent at client management and very good at keeping us up to date. Always a pleasure to work with."

Notable practitioners

Leigh Linton is singled out for her "absolutely terrific knowledge of the legal aspects of medicine" and her "attention to detail which is second to none." She regularly defends healthcare professionals.

Roger McMillan is described as "an individual of remarkable tenacity and vigour who really gets his teeth into things." Other sources remark upon his "encyclopaedic knowledge of the health system in Northern Ireland."

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