Healthcare

The Healthcare Sector in Northern Ireland is a core area of focus for Carson McDowell. Our multi-disciplinary team draws on commercial expertise across the firm to provide our public and private healthcare clients with clear and pragmatic advice and support. The team advises healthcare professionals, private clinics, Health Service bodies, residential and domiciliary care homes, third sector organisations, medical defence organisations, medical malpractice insurers.

What We Do

We advise and assist our healthcare clients in relation to:

  • PFI/PPP projects
  • Partnership agreements
  • Funding and shareholder arrangements
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • EU & Competition queries
  • Real estate purchases
  • Transfers/restructures
  • Banking advice/security reviews
  • Defending clinical negligence/medical malpractice claims
  • Investigations and prosecutions by regulators, for example, the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority, the General Medical Council, General Dental Council and Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland
  • Data protection and confidentiality of patient information
  • Inquests
  • Planning issues
  • Contentious and non-contentious employment matters
  • Contentious and non-contentious construction matters
  • Fee recovery
  • Insurance
  • Dispute resolution
  • Training
  • Public Inquiries, including the Vale of Leven Hospital Inquiry (Scotland) and the Hyponatraemia Inquiry
  • Judicial review proceedings, including procurement challenges

What Others Say About Us

Chambers and Partners UK 2019

Clinical Negligence (Band one)

What the team is known for

Premier practice led by a well-resourced team, adept at defending high-value clinical negligence claims. Provides legal services to a vast range of clients in the healthcare sector, with particular strength in dental claims. Routinely represents prominent defence and protection organisations, as well as indemnity organisations.

Strengths

Sources say: "It is a pre-eminent practice with a big department."

Notable practitioners

The "excellent" Roger McMillan is praised by market commentators for his "very approachable" nature. He frequently defends clients in failure of diagnosis cases as well as in surgical negligence claims.

Jacqueline McAleese is a well-regarded defence practitioner best known for her work in dental disputes and negligent surgery cases.

Claire Harmer is noted for her expertise in defending healthcare professionals in delayed diagnosis cases as well as matters involving birth injuries.

Professional Discipline: NI wide (Band one)

What the team is known for

Experienced team of professional discipline specialists regularly representing clinicians involved in complex regulatory matters. Acts for the full range of healthcare professionals, including doctors, dentists, nurses and opticians. Accomplished in matters relating to claims of drug mishandling, hospice care and sexual misconduct.

Strengths

One source says: "I sleep better at night having instructed Carson McDowell."

Another states: "They are a well-run and specialised team."

Notable practitioners

Roger McMillan is an exceptional practitioner who often represents medical professionals before the GMC. A client says: "Roger has an ability to use a wide-angled lens on a case at the same time as grasping all of the minutiae. He is forward-thinking. He commands confidence through his thoughtful approach."

Leigh Linton is sought after for her experience defending healthcare practitioners before bodies such as the GMC and GDC. Clients say: "She is a diligent lawyer who leaves no stone unturned. She is completely unflappable."

Chambers and Partners UK 2018

Clinical Negligence (Band one)

What the team is known for

Premier practice led by a well-resourced team, adept at defending high-value clinical negligence claims. Provides legal services to clients in the healthcare sector, including those in the medical, dental and pharmacological industries. Routinely represents prominent defence and protection organisations, as well as indemnity organisations.

Strengths

One client lauds the team's reliability and "excellent client service," stating that "thorough, considered, timely and pragmatic advice is always provided."

Another source is equally fond of the department's diligence, and appreciates its "clear understanding of Northern Ireland claims work and ability to explain it sufficiently to allow clear instructions to be given."

Significant clients

Medical Protection Society, Dental Protection, Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland, National Pharmaceutical Association, Association of Optometrists.

Notable practitioners

Roger McMillan receives a raft of praise for his adeptness in defending clinical negligence claims. One source notes: "He identifies the end goal at the very outset of each case and consistently provides solid, measured advice in very clear terms." He receives a regular flow of instructions on failure to diagnose and GP negligence cases.

Clare Bates is best known for her expertise in defending high-value dental negligence claims. Clients deem her "experienced, pleasant to work with and knowledgeable."

Interviewees comment that Jacqueline McAleese "provides very thorough, measured and commercially astute advice with a view to securing the best outcome as early as possible." She handles a variety of clinical negligence claims for major defendant clients, including those concerning delayed diagnosis and surgical negligence.

Claire Harmer is well regarded by market commentators for her handling of clinical negligence claims on behalf of large medical defence organisations. Regarded as "a skilful negotiator who consistently secures great results for her clients," she regularly advises on failure to diagnose cases.

Professional Discipline: NI Wide (Band one)

What the team is known for

Experienced team of professional discipline specialists regularly representing clinicians involved in complex regulatory matters. Acts for the full range of healthcare professionals, including doctors, dentists, nurses and opticians. Accomplished in matters relating to claims of drug mishandling, hospice care and sexual misconduct.

Strengths

Sources say that "this firm is undoubtedly the best firm currently out there acting on behalf of medical and dental practitioners," and that "they are excellent in their knowledge and use of the law."

Clients state: "The team has an innovative approach and is a market leader."

Significant clients

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

Notable practitioners

Roger McMillan is head of the healthcare team and is experienced in high-profile matters relating to medical misconduct allegations. Sources note that he is "a first-class communicator" who is a "superb tactician and brilliant lawyer who builds an excellent rapport with clients and achieves outstanding results."

Head of the regulatory department Leigh Linton advises medical professionals on a full range of disciplinary matters. Sources describe her as "an astute tactician who works harder than any other solicitor to serve her clients' needs."

Chambers and Partners UK 2017

Clinical Negligence

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 negligence claims.

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 2018

Personal injury and clinical negligence: defendant

What the team is known for

Industrial disease claims, catastrophic motor accidents and employer and public liability cases are key areas of instruction for Carson McDowell’s personal injury and healthcare practice, which is also adept at handling high-value healthcare claims.

Significant clients

Recent clients include Faraday Insurance and Riverstone Insurance.

Notable practitioners

Claire Harmer, who is highly recommended for her expertise in industrial disease and inquests, heads the personal injury practice; the group represents companies in catastrophic injury and related criminal investigations. Senior associate Catherine Carton has experience in defending clients in personal injury litigation resulting from motor claims and industrial disease cases, and senior associate Niall Skelton is well versed in representing the Motor Insurance Bureau in road traffic accident claims. On the healthcare side, Roger McMillan, who is singled out for his ‘superb client care’, heads the team, in which Jacqueline McAleese (‘hardworking and a tough negotiator’) is a key name for defending medical and dental practitioners and clinicians in litigation, and is well known for representing the Medical Protection Society.

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