Each year the NHS receives more than 10,000 new claims for compensation for medical or clinical negligence. Although the number of claims have been in gradual decline when compared to the number of procedures carried out, we believe this number remains far too high and are here to help anyone who has been failed by our healthcare system.
Medical negligence is when a medical professional or institute is in breach of the legal duty of care it owes to the patient. Medical or Clinical negligence can be almost anything which results in the patient coming to harm due to an individual or a process.
Some of the most frequent causes of claim are misdiagnosis and birth related negligence, others include failed or unnecessary operations. However, it is important to understand that with all medical procedure there is an inherent risk for the procedure to not work as desired, this does not always constitute negligence.
If you or a family member has had to endure an unsuccessful operation or had a poor outcome from treatment you may have difficulty making a claim. A claim for medical negligence has to be backed by evidence showing the operation was not carried out to an acceptable standard.
A report recently published by the NHS states “In 2019/20 we have received 11,682 new clinical negligence claims and incidents, an increase of 998 (9.35%) compared to 2018/19”. While not all of these incidents lead to a claim being made, an incident should still be taken very seriously as it can show a potential weakness or vulnerability within the care provided.
The new Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice (CNSGP) received 401 new claims and incidents, of these 336 were reported incidents with 65 being actual claims.
Compared to 2018/19 there was an increase of 404 incidents reported in clinical negligence schemes excluding the CNSGP. One of the areas which has seen the largest increase in reported incidents is the gynaecology speciality, accounting for 208 of the 404 incidents reported, an increase of 145%.
The report states: “These claims involve the insertion of tension-free vaginal tape, transobturator tape, transvaginal tension free vaginal tape-obturator or vaginal mesh (vaginal tape or mesh) to treat symptoms of stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse and allegations tend to centre around (but not exclusively) failure to obtain adequate consent (e.g. failure to warn of risks of procedures or failure to offer alternative treatment) and/or substandard performance of surgery.”
The number of claims settled out of court has increased, something the NHS has been looking to improve on for some time, making claims less stressful for claimants and reducing the overall cost to the NHS. 71.5% of 15,550 clinical and non-clinical claims were settled with no proceedings in 2019/20 with 34.2% (5,312) being awarded damages, the other 37.3% (5,805) received no damages.
27.9% of claims were settled after formal court proceedings had been issued, with the majority (3,517) receiving damages, 823 claims were settled with no damages being awarded. Only 0.6% (93) of all claims made it to a trial in a court, of these 23 claimants were awarded damaged with the other 70 receiving no compensation.
One of the most difficult parts of making a medical negligence claim can often be the doubt that you have suffered enough for a claim to be made, it can be a difficult decision choosing whether to pursue compensation, especially from the NHS.
We all understand how valuable the NHS is to society and recognise the amazing work they perform. But mistakes will and do occur, part of the long term improvements in care come from the claims which are made, helping to show potential weaknesses in the healthcare system.
It is important to remember the NHS performs millions of operations every year, the vast majority being successful.
Surgical negligence claims can often include, poor surgical performance, organ perforation during the procedure, the wrong operation being performed, the wrong part of the body being operated on and infections caused by poor hygiene or unsterilised equipment.
Accident and emergency departments play a vital role in hospitals as they are often the first point of contact with patients, this makes it even more important that any serious health issues are identified and treated swiftly. Unfortunately, the service some patients receive in A&E is below standard and in some cases lead to more serious or long term health conditions.
Some of the ways medical professionals can provide negligent levels of care include:
Inexperienced staff: Practical training is a vital part of the training of all medical professionals but this should not be at the expensive of clients.
Delay in diagnosis: Delays in diagnosis or treatment can see most injuries or illnesses becoming worse and in some cases have caused preventable deaths.
Misdiagnosis: When a medical professional gives you a diagnosis for your injury or illness you would naturally expect this information to be correct and accurate. So if you were to later find out you had been misdiagnosed you would understandably be extremely shocked.
Despite medical products going through extremely rigorous testing before they reach human patients, occasionally a faulty or defective device can go undetected. A medical device is a general term used to describe items that are used to service a medical or cosmetic purpose.
These can include replacement joints, pacemakers, and implants. Despite the extremely strict standards and testing on medical devices, they can sometimes fail or be defective, proving dangerous or life-threatening in some instances.
A study carried out by researchers at the Universities of York, Manchester and Sheffield found that over 200 million medication errors occur in the NHS every year. Errors can occur in both dispersing and prescribing medication.
Sadly, these prescribed drugs can have an adverse effect and instead of helping the problem, can often lead to further complications. In extreme cases wrongly prescribed medication can have long term physical and mental problems. If you or a loved one has suffered further complications or injuries due to the medication you’ve have been prescribed, our team of solicitors are waiting to help you.
If you have been let down by a medical professional or a medical institution, speak to the specialist medical negligence solicitors at Cleversons. We can help you get the compensation you deserve. Get started today by calling 0800 368 5102 for a free, no obligation consultation or complete the online enquiry form below.