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NHS compensate patients with £17m for their ‘poor’ Hospital Nursing Care
The Daily Mail Online recently reported that the “NHS pay £17m in compensation to patients who claimed to have suffered poor nursing care in hospital”
Tozers Solicitors LLP Medical claims specialist, Stuart Bramley writes:
This is a distressing set of figures, for the NHS as much as for the individual patients concerned, and it is a relief not to read any mention of ‘ambulance-chasing lawyers’ as so often occurs in articles highlighting medical claims. Contrary to what has been suggested by some of the comments in the chat forum underneath the Daily Mail article, patients who are left injured, often permanently, by unacceptable treatment do not face an easy or quick process in obtaining financial redress. Legal claims are scrutinised in great detail by NHS lawyers, with the relevant staff being sought for their own side of the story and independent medical experts being instructed to provide an impartial opinion. Even then some claims are defended for longer than many Claimant lawyers think necessary. What is the key element is that the patient must prove that the care they received was negligent, which is a tall hurdle to clear, and the figures given in this story illustrate how many people do experience exactly that.
What also must be remembered is the extraordinary number of patients who receive excellent treatment in hospital, by nurses and all the other health professionals, free at the point of service. In the relatively small proportion of cases where care did fall below an acceptable standard and serious injury resulted, compensation may take money out of the Health Service but I know from my own injured clients that that compensation is very badly needed to help regain some semblance of normal life. It is bad enough when someone is hurt through incorrect medical treatment – let us not add insult to (literal) injury by blaming them for taking legal action simply to help them cope with that.