How is the Bolam test applied?
The Bolam test is a peer review of a medical professional’s actions. The Test establishes whether a practitioner has acted in a way that a substantial body of other skilled professionals in the same field would have acted.
Even if the other medical professionals say they would have acted differently, they may still decide that the treatment or level of care was acceptable.
When is the Bolam test applied?
All medical practitioners, including doctors, nurses, dentists and surgeons, have a legal duty of care towards their patients.
When the actions of a professional may have exacerbated someone’s condition or caused them to become ill, then a medical negligence claim may be brought against them. The Bolam test is then used to establish whether they have breached their duty of care.
Today bodies like NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) have set out comprehensive guidelines on duty of care and best practice. This means that if a medical professional has satisfied the Bolam test, they may still be found to have failed in their duty of care if they have not followed NICE recommendations.