NHS compensation claims can lead to better care

NHS compensation claims can lead to better care

Caroline Moore explains why legal action (NHS compensation claims) can form an important part of ensuring best practice from all NHS services…

If you were anything like me as a child, you no doubt idolised workers on the frontline, ensuring our health and safety: the fire service, police officers, doctors, nurses and so on. These are usually the first jobs we learn about, important to society.  More often than not, the care we were always taught to count on is delivered to a level that keeps us healthy, feeling safe and protected.  Sometimes though, like people in almost all areas of life, these vital services can fail you when you are already at your most vulnerable.

We are very lucky in the UK to have the National Health Service which provides us with medical treatment when we need it, and most of the time nobody has any lingering complaints. The Friends and Family Test (FFT) June 2015 data from NHS England indicates that 88% of respondents would recommend their GP practice for similar treatment or care to that which they received. While 92% of outpatients would recommend the service they received to a friend or family member.

However, if not you can pursue the formal complaints procedure, but unfortunately, despite a legal duty of candour, sometimes patients feel a complaint has not been dealt with openly. If so, the answer should be a claim in medical negligence so that financial losses suffered can be recouped. The only real means of recourse that our legal system can offer is that of financial compensation and the opportunity to raise the level of a complaint to an independent justice system.

Clinical negligence specialists bring claims on behalf of individuals who have received medical treatment which falls below the standard that a reasonable medical professional should meet in providing that treatment. The experience of specialist lawyers like the team at Medical Solicitors is crucial to the possibility of success for those bringing a claim.

If, since childhood, you have respected and valued the NHS, it can seem unnatural to consider investigating a claim.  However, the view that clinical negligence claims are an increasing threat to the NHS, as opposed to an additional check on the quality of care that is provided, is most worrying. Worse still is that the Department of Health has been among the bodies that try and put people off taking their claims to court, citing the cost of negligence claims as a drain on the NHS’ expenditure.  To this end the Department of Health is currently working on an initiative to introduce a ‘fixed costs’ policy to the medical claims process.”  Given that the sum paid out in 2014 in relation to legal claims by the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) equates to less than 2% of the annual health budget the argument justifying this move is unreasonable.

Catherine Dixon, the former CEO of the NHSLA, has recently expressed her concerns over the Department of Health’s approach.  She commented that it is entirely possible that a barrier to access to justice for patients’ as a result of a ‘fixed costs’ policy, would discourage expert solicitors from bringing claims on the behalf of  those who truly need specialist support in getting the outcome that they deserve.

It remains to be seen whether this policy really is adopted. Specialist clinical negligence solicitors are working together to campaign against the ‘fixed costs policy’ to preserve access to justice. In the meantime, keep asking questions when care does not appear to be reasonable, and seek specialist advice if your questions are not answered in open and honest fashion.

About Medical Solicitors

Our friendly team of specialist lawyers at Medical Solicitors have a lot of experience in bringing successful medical negligence claims.

Compensation can be claimed where there has been delay in getting a patient to hospital, delay in diagnosis, inappropriate advice given concerning  care options and risks and benefits of such options, where there have been excessive delays in providing actual treatment, or where there has been any substandard care that amounts to actual Medical Negligence. 

Do contact our friendly team of specialist lawyers at Medical Solicitors. We conduct most of our Clinical and Medical Negligence claims under ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreements, also known as Conditional Fee Agreements. So, you do not have to worry about how you are going to afford to bring a medical negligence claim for compensation. You have nothing to lose in speaking to us.

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