In 2014, it is reported that the total cost to the NHS because of medical and clinical negligence was estimated at one billion pounds. This is bad for the NHS and economy but also bad for the patients that have to injure sometimes horrific injuries and sometimes even death. This has flagged up numerous problems that the NHS could be facing. Not only losing large amount to negligence claims that could be avoided but also potential threat to patient care.
In recent news the telegraph suggested that clinical negligence is problem within hospitals across the UK, which is a frightening thought. One case that grabbed the headlines was the terrible story of a young woman in 2013 that was admitted to hospital in Wakefield heavily pregnant who was experiencing complications including heavy bleeding. She was given medication to help her but the doctors and nurses did not give this enough time to work to its full potential. When she was then taken into surgery she was given anaesthesia inappropriately. This then caused circulatory collapse, which resulted in brain damage.
She is now house bound and unable to do much for herself. Her mother is seeking justice as her daughter who now lives at a rehabilitation centre in Barnsley, which is several miles from her family home, needs a final payment so they can build her a bungalow to cater for her needs.
Another heartbreaking story is the story of a 13 year old boy, who’s family fought 10 years to get the result from Kent & Canterbury Hospital that the parents were not at fault for causing there son brain injuries back in 2002. As the parents were led to believe that there son had epilepsy which was not the case when they took him to a specialist at Great Ormond street who said he have significant brain damage. It was only after they demanded answers from the hospital he was born then they knew the truth. The truth was that there son had experienced a neo-natal birthing injury. This was then the start of a long fight to seek the justice and apologies there were owed by Kent & Canterbury Hospital. But nearly a decade later in 2013 the family finally received a letter from East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust accepting responsibility for his condition. Although they had received the acknowledgement they were due the trust continued to dispute details about the future care package. It was not until April 2015 when Britain’s top judges ruled in there favour, with a compensation package to be worth millions.
One of the parents stated, “I’m a massive fan of the NHS, but I think the way they treat people when things go wrong- it’s disgusting, inhumane. I hope our case will at least help make the changes it clearly needs”. Cases like these are a minority but are still happening to children and adults across the country. This may mean that a review in how the NHS manages its claims and treats its patients may need to be overhauled to make sure that this does not happen again. As to wait 10 years for a hospital to acknowledge there mistake and apologise is not right and shouldn’t happen. These traumatic cases also highlight the transparency needed between the patient and doctors and the trust that if medical negligence has occurred something will be done about it and care can be provided.
In conclusion these recent figures about the amount of money been spent on claims could flag up potential problems in terms of patient care and the way claims are handled. As this can have a detrimental effect on the victims, as cases were serious brain injuries are caused, having to wait years to receive any compensation or an apology should not happen. So as tragic the cases we’ve discussed are it will create new laws and procedures for the future.