The Covid-19 pandemic has given rise to a renewed appreciation of our NHS. I along with many of you, have been out on my balcony at 8pm every Thursday clapping for our carers with much gusto and gratitude. Indeed, I am very grateful for their hard work and for the robust healthcare system we have in place here in the UK.
It is undeniable that doctors and nurses up and down the country are working hard on our frontlines and putting in shift after shift on sometimes heavily understaffed wards. Nevertheless, things can still sometimes go wrong.
When mistakes occur in the NHS, they can have tragic consequences on patients and their families.
Each year the NHS receives more than 10,000 new claims for compensation. This figure includes all current unsettled claims as well as projected estimates of ones in the future. 50% of these claims are birth related and involve mother or baby being left with avoidable life-changing injuries, or in some tragic cases, death.
When claims are brought against NHS Trusts, this is simply to obtain appropriate compensation for patients when they have suffered injuries as a result of avoidable mistakes - the effects of which can be permanent, or have a significant bearing on their lives. It is a vital function of our system of justice and democracy that patients who are victims of negligence are able to seek fair and proportionate redress.
Some may disagree with our current system which allows the NHS to be sued. However, it is important to recognise that the NHS should be no less accountable than any other body or organisation.
Mistakes are often made when bureaucracy and cost saving is put before patient safety. Medical negligence claims not only compensate patients for their injuries and losses but without them, Trusts would simply not be held as accountable for their actions as they currently are. This could put patient safety and quality of care at risk, as well causing a deterioration in the working conditions for NHS Trust employees such as doctors and nurses.
It is very much my view that doctors, nurses, NHS staff and lawyers all want the same thing - to identify mistakes and learn from them for the future. By doing so, we can work to protect patient welfare which is fundamental to the healthcare system we are so fortunate to have access to.
At Bell Lax, we understand that embarking on a legal claim can be a daunting decision. We will provide you with sensitive and supportive advice throughout the process.