Since 1 April 2017, it has been a requirement for NHS Trusts to report all maternity incidents which are likely to result in severe brain injury to NHS Resolution within 30 days. The aim is to instigate early investigations where there have been concerns about the standard of care and/or complications around the time of birth which may lead to devastating long term conditions such as Cerebral Palsy.
The scheme is intended to provide affected parents with early answers when things go wrong and provide support and, if appropriate, compensation to victims of avoidable birth injuries. It is also an aim of the scheme to learn and share from past mistakes and ultimately to reduce incidents of sub-standard care that can be so devastating for victims and their families.
NHS Resolution make no secret of the fact that they intend to save several millions of pounds in fewer compensation payouts. This is admirable if such savings result from fewer birth injuries, but without independent legal advice there is a real risk of under settlement of cases.
But does the NHS Early Notification Scheme (ENS) create a potential conflict of interest, with the NHS deciding whether your case warrants compensation and using their own preferred panel Solicitors and experts to carry out the investigations. Are they signposting families to specialist Medical Negligence Solicitors for independent advice when key decisions are made under the scheme?
For example, if the case is rejected under the scheme, are parents being told why and are they being advised of their right to consult independent Solicitors for a second opinion? Does any compensation awarded under the scheme meet the victim’s reasonable needs in terms of care, accommodation, special aids and equipment, rehabilitation and treatment? How does the scheme interface with other agencies such as the Courts, Deputies who are required by law to manage compensation funds for protected persons in their best interests and the Court of Protection, who act as a further layer of protection and oversight for victims of severe birth injury?
If you are referred to this NHS Early Notification Scheme, it’s really important that you obtain early independent legal advice from specialist Medical Negligence Solicitors. At Simpson Millar, our nationwide team of Clinical and Medical Negligence lawyers can advise you on your case sensitively and objectively, with the benefit of Legal Aid or a No Win, No Fee Agreement.
Our specialist birth injury Lawyers are accredited by the Law Society and AvMA specialist clinical negligence panels and we have a proven track record of recovering substantial compensation on behalf of claimants in these very complex and specialised cases.
Simpson Millar only ever acts for the victims of catastrophic birth injuries, which means that, unlike the NHS scheme, there is no question of any conflict of interest and you may rest assured we are committed to working for you and we will fight for the full amount of compensation you and your child are entitled to.