NHS Should Improve Cauda Equina Care

Posted on: 6 mins read
Last updated:
Georgina Emsley

Solicitor, Medical Negligence

Share Article:

NHS Should Improve Cauda Equina Care

A national plan to help patients with symptoms of Cauda Equina get prompt treatment should be put in place, a new report has said.

The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) has urged the NHS to take steps to improve the care given to people with symptoms of spinal nerve compression.

According to a new report by the body, cases of Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) aren’t always being diagnosed and people aren’t getting the treatment they need in a timely manner because there isn’t a “clear national pathway” for managing the condition. It claimed this was because healthcare providers are taking different approaches across the country and not adhering to the same timeframes.

The HSIB believes clearer policies and guidance would improve the chances of Cauda Equina Syndrome being identified and patients getting the treatment they need earlier and in any event, in a timely manner.

Cauda Equina Syndrome has several indicative symptoms including lower back pain, abnormal bowel function and weakness in both legs. It is crucial anyone experiencing these symptoms seeks medical attention as soon as possible.

It is important for healthcare professionals to recognise these symptoms are of Cauda Equina Syndrome and refer their patients for the appropriate tests, without delay.

a man performing physiotherapy on a woman's back

Get in touch today!

If you've been affected by cauda equina syndrome that wasn't properly diagnosed or treated by medical professionals, get in touch with our team today.

What Else Has the HSIB Recommended?

The HSIB has also called on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to update its guidance on lower back pain to include symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome and how to manage it.

NICE guidance does not cover Cauda Equina Syndrome, it currently only provides guidance on low back pain and sciatica. It also recommended the creation of a ‘decision-making tool’ to help identify patients who need an immediate MRI scan if they are suspected to have Cauda Equina Syndrome, as well as new guidance on how “urgent” requests for MRI scans should be defined and then prioritised.

Concerns Raised after Delay in Patient's Treatment

The HSIB recommendations followed a particular case of Cauda Equina Syndrome. The case concerned a woman who presented with symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome but had to wait four days for an MRI scan, and then a further ten hours following the scan to be transferred to a Specialist Spinal Centre. She then experienced further delays waiting for spinal decompression surgery, which she urgently needed.

Her experience caused the HSIB to take a wider look at the consistency of care for patients who present with potential red flag symptoms for Cauda Equina Syndrome and investigate the reasons behind the delays in diagnosis and treatment.

Cauda Equina syndrome is a rare, and incredibly serious and time sensitive condition. The psychological and physical impact of the condition is life changing.

two people in discussion over legal matters

How We Can Help You

If you’ve been left injured as a result of a delay in diagnosis of  Cauda Equina Syndrome, or surgical error, our specialist Medical Negligence Solicitors can help you.

If we accept instructions for your case, we will investigate what happened and how it has affected your quality of life.  Compensation for damages arising out of medical negligence can make a huge difference when trying to rebuild your life. While it won’t change the past, it affords patients the opportunity to access treatment and support they need to have the best quality of life possible.

We offer a free Cauda Equina claims assessment, so you can speak to our friendly experts with no obligation. Our intention is to get you started on your road to recovery without delay, so let us take care of the legal process and help you get the justice you deserve.

a medical professional and patient looking at a model spine

FAQs about Cauda Equina Claims

How Long Do I Have to Make a Claim?

You will have 3 years to start a claim for compensation following medical negligence that led to your symptoms worsening or your condition not being identified as quickly as it should have. The 3 year time period will start from the date you first became aware that your injury was a result of negligence.

The exception to this is if the case relates to a child. The 3 year period will start on their 18th birthday, which gives them up until they are 21 years old to make a claim. Alternatively, a parent or guardian can start a claim on their behalf then.

What Happens After I Make a Claim?

The first step is to contact us to arrange your free claims assessment. Once we’ve discussed your case and we are happy to accept instructions for your claim, we will outline the funding options that are available to you. We may be able to assist with your claim on a No Win, No Fee agreement.

We will invite those responsible for the care provided to you to admit liability for what happened. If they do accept responsibility, we will secure an interim payment to fund your ongoing medical needs, before your claim is settled in full.

We will then gather medical evidence from experts in the appropriate field to build a strong case.

We will always try to negotiate a settlement outside of Court to keep the process as short and uncomplex as possible. However, in circumstances where the Defendant fails to accept responsibility or they disagree with the amount of compensation we think you are entitled to, we will commence Court proceedings.

If you claim does go to Court, we will be with you every step of the way. We will talk you through everything as it happens so you feel prepared and as comfortable with the process as possible. Just remember that you are not alone, and our experts will be behind you throughout the process. It is very unlikely you will be required to attend a hearing.

Do I Need to Go to Court?

Most cases like this are able to be settled outside of Court, so there’s no guarantee that you will need to attend a Court hearing at all. We will try our best to get the Defendant to accept responsibility early, and to secure compensation for you without having to go to Court. Whether or not the case goes to Court is somewhat out of our control though, and depends significantly on the Defendant’s co-operation and willingness to settle at an amount of compensation that we consider to be appropriate.

What is Medical Negligence?

You may be wondering whether or not you received negligent treatment by those who were responsible for your care. Essentially, medical negligence is when treatment provided by a healthcare professional is not in line with local/ national protocols and/or guidance and/or is not to a reasonable standard of care, which is a breach of duty and results in an injury to a patient.

Each medical negligence is different, as the events leading to the injury and the injury itself varies from patient to patient. The harm inflicted can be anywhere between minor to life-changing, and in some cases it may even be fatal.

If you’re not sure whether you have experienced medical negligence, it can be a confusing time. We can help offer you support and advice on whether or not those responsible for your care are in breach of duty. Get in touch with our team to arrange a free assessment and we will let you know whether or not you likely have a claim for compensation.

Why You Should Choose Simpson Millar

Our expert solicitors are experienced in helping clients with Cauda Equina Syndrome successfully claim compensation after suffering medical negligence.

One of our clients was a 60-year-old lady who had experienced massive delays in receiving appropriate treatment for Cauda Equina Syndrome which led to her condition getting significantly worse. She came to us for help and we managed to obtain £315,000 in compensation for her. She was able to use this to access the special aids and physiotherapy that she so desperately needed and deserved.

If you instruct us to deal with your case, our team can help you to achieve a resolution, so you can get your life back on track. Give us a call today to arrange your free claims assessment – don’t forget to ask us about our No Win, No Fee agreements.

Georgina Emsley

Solicitor, Medical Negligence

Areas of Expertise:
Medical Negligence

Georgina is a Solicitor who works in our Medical Negligence team here at Simpson Millar, based in our Manchester office.

She is a committed and highly reliable Solicitor with a track record of supporting clients through the process of making a claim to achieve the best outcome for them. Georgina has experience working on many high-value cases with a range of circumstances and complexities from start to finish, where she reviews medical records, liaises with experts and gathers evidence in order to negotiate the best possible settlement for her clients.

Get in touch, today!

Fill in the form below to get in touch with one of our dedicated team members, or call our team today on: 0808 239 6043

This data will only be used by Simpson Millar in accordance with our Privacy Policy for processing your query and for no other purpose