Why Does Medical Negligence Occur in the NHS?

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The vast majority of NHS patients receive first-class medical care, but mistakes can and do happen for many reasons, and lead to patients making medical negligence claims. These include:

Untrained Staff/Too Much Reliance on Junior Doctors/Trainees

The NHS has many teaching hospitals, where trainee professionals can gain practical experience of working in a real-life healthcare institution. However, this can create the possibility that members of the public may be treated by members of staff who aren’t yet fully trained.

At the same time, the NHS has come under scrutiny in the last few years for cutting back on staff numbers because of budget restraints. To compensate for this shortage, trainees and junior doctors have become common recruits in hospitals. So again, patients may be treated by staff who haven’t received sufficient training.

Excessive Working Hours

The NHS has been restructured on a number of occasions throughout the UK. This includes merging certain Hospitals or Regional Trusts and making staff travel in certain parts of the country. At the same time, staff numbers have been reduced in some hospitals and doctors surgeries, while the number of working hours has increased. This could lead to an increased risk of medical negligence events occurring, as healthcare professionals and medical staff may not have had frequent breaks at a time they’re trying to manage an increased workload of patients.

Lack of Motivation

It’s well documented that NHS staff have frequently lobbied for increased salary and perks, but unfortunately, budgeting issues mean that the NHS doesn’t offer many staff benefits, and many individuals prefer to work for private medical practices. Therefore, some NHS staff may lack motivation, which can in turn lead to medical negligence taking place.

Please note, proving the above does not automatically warrant a valid medical negligence claim.

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How to Prove that Medical Negligence Has Occurred

If you decide to make a medical negligence claim, you’ll be required to prove that:

  • The care you received fell below the standard you’d expect from a reasonably competent healthcare professional
  • The physical or mental injury you sustained was the direct result of their actions or inactions

Specific failings that you may be to claim compensation for include a failure to:

  • Correctly diagnose the medical issue
  • Provide adequate healthcare
  • Operate hospital equipment properly
  • Administer or prescribe the right medication
  • Maintain proper medical records
  • Speak with you about a proposed treatment and gain appropriate consent

Making a medical negligence claim for most people can seem like a daunting task. However, our Medical Negligence Solicitors offer free legal advice and can help you through the entire process.

Get in touch with us for a free consultation, and we’ll assess the details of your claim and whether or not it has a good chance of success. Ask if we can deal with your case on a No Win, No Fee basis.

Time Limit for Medical Negligence Claims

In order to claim compensation for medical negligence, you must start your claim within 3 years of when the incident happened or from the date you became aware of the problem.

The time limitation period may be extended in certain circumstances, such as if an injured person is suffering from a temporary mental disability, and therefore can’t claim until mental capacity has returned. But while Courts in England and Wales are entitled to alter the time limits, this discretion isn’t exercised very often.

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