World Patient Safety Day

Author:
Jodie Cook
Senior Associate, Medical Negligence Lawyer
Date:
17/09/2020

Today is World Patient Safety Day, a global effort to promote ways of improving patient safety and reducing patient harm.

As Medical Negligence Solicitors, we regularly deal with the consequences of mistakes made by healthcare professionals, some of which can be life-changing for patients.

Claiming compensation for medical negligence is very important, as it means those who’ve suffered could get the specialist care, treatment and rehabilitation they need to move on with their lives. But just as importantly, it can help to shine a spotlight on systemic failings within certain hospitals, departments and trusts.

This can then lead to changes being made and, hopefully, prevent other people going through similar experiences, improving patient safety for all.

Working with the NHS to Improve Patient Safety

There are many myths about claiming compensation against the NHS. For instance, some people think Medical Negligence Solicitors are only interested in catching out the NHS, and some may be put off claiming because they believe the legal process is, at its heart, an adversarial, confrontational process.

But this isn’t true. At Simpson Millar, it’s really important to us that we work with the NHS collaboratively and constructively. We’re keen advocates of mediation and other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution, so we can settle claims amicably without ever having to go to Court.

Mediation gives patients a valuable chance to speak to the other party face-to-face, share their story and discuss any areas of dispute which may stop them agreeing a settlement, all accompanied by an independent mediator.

At the same time, it allows the healthcare provider an opportunity to offer direct explanations and, in some cases, apologise to those affected by medical negligence, and spend time listening and responding to people’s concerns.

Mediation encourages constructive engagement and discussion, rather than it aiming to be confrontational, which creates the right conditions for lessons to be learned. If one successful claim can lead to healthcare providers tightening or changing their processes for the better, patient safety can be improved considerably.

Jodie Cook, one of our Medical Negligence Lawyers, said, “It’s in the interests of both sides to work together to narrow the issues in medical negligence claims. This allows the parties to understand one another’s case and explore whether we can work towards a satisfactory conclusion.

“Making a claim can be a stressful process for our clients and we’re mindful of that. This is why we’re keen to resolve these cases for our clients at the earliest opportunity.’

Independent Medical Evidence Can Highlight Failings

An important part of a medical negligence claim is getting evidence from an independent medical expert. If we have evidence to support the case, we’ll arrange for our clients to see a specialist in the relevant field of medicine for a medical assessment. This expert will then prepare a report detailing our client’s condition, their prognosis and assess the standard of medical care provided.

This can highlight patient safety issues which may point to a wider problem, which we can raise to the other side when negotiating a medical negligence claim.

For more information on World Patient Safety Day and how to get involved, click here.

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