Roberts Jackson’s Guide on Clinical Negligence
Clinical Negligence is a term that everyone can agree we would like to never hear again. In all cases of clinical negligence the victim in question has been let down on both their health and also their trust in the medical care system. When someone visits a hospital they expect the best treatment possible and expect no mistakes regarding the context of their visit. However this isn’t the case and even today in a world full of emerging technologies and warning systems mistakes are still made.
It’s a hospital there will always be mistakes
It could be argued that due to the sheer number of patients that pass through the NHS system on a daily basis that a margin of error will always exist and negligence cases will always be a factor of the health care system. With the severity of the context of the NHS such as surgery and operations there is a fine line between a mistake and a success. While this point does hold ground in a statistic sense it doesn’t represent the real issue which is the individual in question. Each patient that enters the NHS expects a certain degree of treatment and they expect the best possible treatment that can be possibly provided to them. They will not and should not expect that due to the busy nature of the NHS that a mistake might happen.
The margin for error is already too high to be presented as a simple “volume of patient’s issue”. In recent figures provided by the NHS litigation Authority from the year 1995 to 2013 there was a total of 84,925 claims. This included all categories of the health service ranging from Surgery to Ambulance. While this accounts for a number of years it still represents an extremely high margin of error when compared to the intake of patients.
Claims are affecting the NHS
A common argument and something often found in recent press is the rise in “ambulance chasing” as something that is increasing the amount of claimant’s and forcing the NHS to deal with financial claims instead of issuing the money elsewhere such as maintenance. This isn’t the case and in fact when the stats for litigation authority are taken into account there was a rise and eventual peak of claims in the 90’s and a steady decline in more recent years.
Negativity towards claiming is a cultural or media issue. In current news the NHS is always the target of a story whether it is a negligence case or a funding issue, however it is no surprise as it generates easy stories that shock the reader and inevitably have no impact on the NHS as an institution. Take this recent story from the BBC as an example http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-26735311.
In this case a nurse was responsible for the death of a patient due to the misuse of a feeding tube. In this instance the story in question while slamming the NHS has no detrimental effect on the NHS as the NHS as institution will never dramatically change due to its size and funding. If you were to read this story and then have an accident you will still go to the NHS (unless you have health cover) to receive your treatment. These negligence stories are always the focus on media outlets and so reinforce a negative attitude towards the NHS as somewhere where things go wrong. However if a solicitor is offering advice or legal compensation to a victim they are seen as a more detrimental threat to the NHS. It should then be noted that a rise in claims can often be more associated with recent media issues as opposed to an increase in solicitors trying to find work.
The positives of claiming
The idea that people claiming against the NHS are in some way damaging the health service is completely false. It can be said that if anything claims against negligence service have improved the service and meant that better precautions have been put in place. This following story from last year addresses the negligence cover paid by the NHS on each birth http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-24856772.
While the story paints this in a slight negative connotation, to an outsider it is something inherently positive due to the thinking of the NHS in preparation. They are aware that certain mistakes can be made and have the proper cover to compensate anyone who isn’t provided the quality of service that is promised by the NHS. From the claims made in the 90’s to its peak of 961,442 claims in the year 08/09 have had a positive effect regarding increasing the safety of the NHS and its schemes available to victims. By having internal and external financial pressure brought by claims the NHS has become one of the safest medical institutions in the world. Without consequence any action can simply be forgotten.
At Roberts Jackson Solicitor’s we understand the severity of a clinical negligence issue and the effect it can have on your health and mind. We have award winning solicitors whose primary focus is Clinical Negligence putting you in the best hands and insuring you have someone who is focused on your claim.
If you or your family have been affected by a clinical negligence matter please contact us for free legal advice on our free phone number 0808 231 8234.