Medical Negligence in the NHS Explained

Ian Lewis[1]

Ian Lewis

Money Savings Advice Medical Negligence & the NHS

Have you suffered illness/injury as a result of NHS medical negligence? Are you unsure whether you are able to claim compensation? Are you fighting a moral dilemma as to whether it is right to pursue compensation against the NHS? Rest assured, you are not alone, and help is at hand.

Many people find it difficult to separate medical negligence and to pursue compensation against the NHS. The reality is that if you have suffered as a consequence of medical negligence, then you have every right to pursue compensation.

Many people forget that it is only by holding negligent parties to account that procedures/actions will change going forward. We can only estimate the number of lives saved as a consequence of legal action which has forced organisations such as the NHS to make changes to the way in which they operate.

Continue reading to get all the details.

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How Many People Claim Negligence Against the NHS?

While we don’t have the exact figures, we know that in the tax year 2016/17 the NHS paid out £1.76 billion in compensation as a consequence of negligence. We also know that at the same time there were active claims/potential claims totalling a staggering £65 billion.

Many people are not aware that the NHS is a self-insured organisation with no third party able to offer traditional cover. As a consequence, the NHS is constantly changing and tweaking procedures to reduce the number of negligence claims going forward.

What Is the NHS Litigation Authority?

Over the years, there has been such an increase in medical negligence claims against the NHS that a separate body, the NHS Litigation Authority, was set up to handle all claims. While the majority of claims are settled out of court, those where there is an element of doubt will likely end up in court.

Court rulings will often become a form of evidence/point of information for similar claims in the future.

What Are the More Common Injuries Relating to NHS Negligence?

The NHS is the envy of many around the world although unfortunately, we do see a number of common injuries relating to alleged negligence. These tend to revolve around:-

  • Misdiagnosis of life-threatening conditions
  • Administration of incorrect medication/incorrect dosage
  • Substandard surgery
  • Life-threatening delays in treatment
  • Mishandling of test results
  • Care home negligence

All NHS employees have a duty to provide the highest quality of care to the best of their ability. When considering claims for negligence, this standard of care is measured against that reasonably expected from a third party in the same role with the same training/experience. This is often referred to as the “Bolam test”.

What Is the Bolam Test?

The Bolam test relates to a court case back in 1957 when a patient agreed to electroconvulsive therapy. Unfortunately, the patient was not given any muscle relaxants or restrained in any way during the treatment. As a consequence of the wild and violent reaction to the procedure, he received numerous injuries, one of which was a fractured hip.

He sued the hospital for compensation but peer-based evidence at the time confirmed that the use of muscle relaxants/restraints was not standard procedure. This is the basis of the comparison between alleged negligent treatment and treatment, which would have been carried out by practitioners with the same experience and training, in the same situation.

What Kind of Evidence Will do I Need to Prove Medical Negligence?

Any personal injury compensation claims revolve around proof of negligence. The type of evidence required includes:-

  • Details of treatment
  • Timeline of events
  • Photographic evidence where possible
  • Witness statements
  • Literature relating to the treatment
  • Evidence of injury/illness
  • Historic patterns of negligence where applicable

All evidence will be considered in conjunction with the input of third-party medical practitioners when considering the Bolam test. In reality, the more evidence to support your claim, the greater the chance of a successful prosecution.

After collating your evidence, it is time to approach a personal injury claims advisor.

Do I Need a Personal Injury Claims Advisor?

On the surface, the pursuit of compensation as a consequence of negligence might appear relatively straightforward. However, in reality, there are deadlines, legal obligations and the requirement to provide strong evidence to support your claim.

This is where a personal injury claims advisor can be extremely useful, and literally, the difference between success and failure.

How Do I Choose a Personal Injury Claims Advisor?

This is a sector which has seen a huge growth in recent years, and you will have no problems finding a personal injury claims advisor to assist you. Cases of medical negligence tend to be more complicated and often long-running, compared to more traditional prosecutions.

Even though the majority of personal injury claims advisers will be experienced in medical negligence, there are some companies who specialise in this area. So, depending on the type of claim, complexity and evidence required, it may be useful to go with a medical negligence expert.

What Level of Compensation Can I Claim?

When pursuing the compensation, you will come across two specific terms, general damages and special damages:-

General Damages

This payment relates to compensation awarded as a consequence of pain, suffering and loss of amenity by the claimant. There are guidelines covering levels of compensation for different injuries with physical injuries and mental injuries considered in the same light.

For example, a very severe brain injury would see compensation between £224,800 and £322,060. A relatively minor wrist injury could lead to compensation from £2810 up to £3790.

Special Damages

While general damages involve a degree of discretion, special damages are best described as compensation for financial loss. This can take in an array of different issues such as loss of earnings, medical treatment, travel expenses, adaptions to your home and much more.

Where an individual is unable to work as a consequence of their injuries, the level of lost earnings can be significant.

Summary

Due to the sheer size and complexity of the NHS, the organisation has been the recipient of many medical negligence claims. While many people wrestle with the moral issue of whether it is “right” to pursue compensation from the NHS, in many cases, this is the only way that procedures are made safer.

If you have suffered as a consequence of medical negligence by the NHS or any other medical organisation/party, you are well within your rights to pursue compensation.

How Can Money Savings Advice Help You With Making a Medical Negligence Compensation Claim?

Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Medical Negligence Claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation for the negligence they have incurred, and they can do the same for you.

Choosing an independent claims management company means they won’t proceed with a claim unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.

If you would like to speak to one of these claim management companies who can help you make a compensation claim, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.

Money Savings Advice Author Ian Lewis

Ian Lewis

Ian Lewis is one of our specialist financial writers. Ian has over 15 years of financial writing experience, having worked for some of the largest financial publications in the UK covering topics from mortgages, equity release, loans and financial claims, to name a few.

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