Preventing Medical Negligence Incidents and Injuries
Our NHS staff work tirelessly every day and we thank them for it and for the sacrifices they have made during the Coronavirus pandemic. Often clinical negligence incidents that happen in medical facilities aren’t the fault of just one nurse or one doctor, but can be blamed on the system as a whole.
A new report by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) found that in the last decade the Government has reduced funding to the NHS and reduced the numbers of staff within the healthcare system. This has put a strain on our treasured National Health Service and may have contributed to preventable deaths and injuries.
Our team of Medical Negligence Solicitors has seen the reality of this, as we have recovered substantial amounts of compensation for clients who have experienced negligent medical care. As it is Injury Prevention Week, we want to highlight our work with NHS Resolution and how they’re trying to reduce the amount of incidents caused by negligent medical care.
Causes of Medical Negligence
Injuries sustained by late diagnosis or negligent care are often a result of issues that need to be solved on a larger scale, rather than on an individual basis. For example:
- Lack of Staff – The IPPR’s report showed that national evidence recommends that the average GP sees 23 patients a day, but in the UK the average amount of patients for one GP to see in a day is a massive 41.5 patients. Putting this kind of pressure and workload onto each individual GP, nurse, and healthcare assistant means that the kind of care needed to properly diagnose and treat each patient might not always be possible.
- Out of Date Training - It’s difficult to introduce new ways of working to any system, but this is especially true for a large organisation like the NHS. One key problem is conflicting aims, for example clinicians may have targets to reduce waiting times, but this could have the effect of reducing one on one time with patients and potentially put patients’ safety at risk. Better training needs more funding, which has been gradually reduced by the Government over recent years.
- Patients not Being Heard – Doctors and nurses are humans too and can make mistakes. But when things do go wrong, patients are often left out of the conversation. This means that there is little patient feedback, which is key to understanding what the issues were and how improvements can be made.
A Better Way of Handling Claims
Not all medical accidents can be prevented, but we can change the way we handle them when they do. NHS Resolution are an organisation that investigate and handle medical negligence claims for the NHS. They have introduced the Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice (CNSGP) with a view to helping the claims process move more quickly for anyone who has experienced clinical negligence in a General Practice on or after 1 April 2019.
The main purpose of the CNSGP is to make sure that patients who have received negligent medical care will get treatment and compensation as soon as possible. This can be done by:
- Encouraging practices to report claims to NHS Resolution as soon as they can
- Reducing conflict in making a medical negligence claim
- Providing guidance on how practices can respond to complaints, and so possibly prevent a claim having to be made at all
- Giving guidance on when compensation is due
- Settling claims as efficiently as possible
Our Medical Negligence Solicitors continue to work closely with NHS Resolution when settling clinical and medical negligence claims and making sure our clients receive the compensation and rehabilitation support that they are entitled to.
We hope that this scheme and the guidance provided by NHS Resolution to hospitals and General Practices will allow for early reporting of incidents, earlier treatment and earlier compensation pay outs. By responding better to complaints, it is hoped that Hospitals and GP practices can learn how to prevent these incidents and injuries from happening in the future.
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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Bristol, Cardiff, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.