COVID-19 Update: Tozers is providing our usual client services while maintaining the safety of our clients and colleagues. Full update here

Complete the form below to ask us a question or make an enquiry. We’ll get back to you via phone or email as soon as possible.

Insights

NHS Scandals: 2018 Medical Negligence Claims

Posted on 28th September 2018 in Medical Negligence

Posted by

Stuart Bramley

Partner and Solicitor
NHS Scandals: 2018 Medical Negligence Claims

Those who follow the news would be forgiven for thinking that 2018 is the year of NHS scandals. Sir Brian Langstaffe’s inquiry into infected blood products, from which 3,000 died and over 25,000 are believed to have been infected, is being heard as separate investigations into hospitals in Shrewsbury & Telford suggest that on evidence available so far, 40 babies have died unnecessarily and another 12 bereaved families have been contacted in case the deaths of their children arose from similar causes. Earlier this year more than 300 staff at Gosport Hospital have revealed how their attempts at whistleblowing led not to a review or internal change but rather recriminations, despite their belief that up to 456 patients may have died due to the use of unnecessary opiate painkillers.

Those with longer memories will recall the headlines surrounding Stafford Hospital where again the concerns of staff went unheeded.

We all make mistakes at work and those are more likely to occur in medicine, a hugely complex and demanding area where the challenges facing hard-working and dedicated clinicians comprise a daily hurdle. On the evidence available regarding the above four scandals, however, the primary issue has been whether mistakes were made, but it seems to me that those were then compounded by a second one – once problems arose were those addressed openly and swiftly? The NHS has been keen to boast its Duty of Candour, but the question now is whether that duty has been put into practice. These stories suggest not – instead, those who have tried to raise their own worries have been ignored at best or repressed at worst. A memorable example was that of Dr Stephen Bolsin whose concerns about paediatric cardiac surgery failure rates in Bristol in the 1990s led to his having to move to Australia since he then became unable to find work in the UK.

I believe the NHS is genuinely determined to root out poor practice, learn from mistakes and implement improvements. But this will only work if it is applied in real life at actual hospitals rather than simply being expressed as an ideal by politicians.  No doctor, nurse or midwife will risk their own career if flagging up a scandal of the nature of Gosport or Bristol instead leads to the problem being hushed up. As a medical negligence solicitor I see similar problems every day, not necessarily on a Trust-wide basis but simply where an individual complaint or legal claim results in denials of any errors, no matter how stark the mistakes may have been. Figures from NHS Resolution reveal that where patients are forced to take the step of starting legal proceedings at court to obtain justice, four-fifths of them are successful. Couldn’t those errors have been admitted much sooner?

I do hope that the NHS does not become living proof of the old saying that those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.

If you need any advice regarding a matter similar to this, then please do not hesitate to contact our experienced team of medical negligence solicitors on 01392 207020.

Company & Industry

Related Insights

Insights

Unclaimed estates totalling £1.744bn from those without Wills

Posted on 02nd October 2020 in Probate & Wills

It has been reported by a north-east property developer that there are approximately 7,991 estates currently left unclaimed in England and Wales. The total value of which is estimated at £1.744bn, equating to £218,300 per estate. They report that the majority of these estates have been left by single people who have not made a Will.

Posted by

Sue Halfyard

Associate and Chartered Legal Executive
Insights

Q&A with Karen Hillyer Chair of the Erb’s Palsy Group

Posted on 02nd October 2020 in Medical Negligence

We meet with the incredible Karen Hillyer, chair of the Erb's Palsy Group, for an engaging talk about her role and achievements as part of the Erb’s Palsy Group, advice for parents, and how Erb's Palsy Awareness Week could help achieve great results for the charity and those affected by the condition.

Posted by

Clair Hemming

Partner and Solicitor