The NHS is a well loved and supported organisation throughout the UK. A recent survey conducted by The Observer on the cultural, social and political beliefs of Britons in 2015 states that 65% of us have a high trust in the NHS.
The NHS does a fantastic job as do many other medical and health care providers but mistakes happen and negligence occurs and this is when things can become difficult.
In an article on The Solicitors Journal website titled ‘Should the public be barred from suing the NHS?’ we learn that on the whole, people are reluctant to do so as they don’t want to make a fuss or take money from a trusted organisation. 44% of all cases are not initiated until a year after the event. Why? In every other walk of business we would be less tolerant and yet the suffering caused by such negligence can be extremely painful and last a lifetime.
Part of the reason given for claims eventually being brought lies within the NHS structure itself. A reluctance to admit liability, a lack of transparency, and occasional willingness to dismiss patient’s genuine complaints and well-founded concerns, have been well documented in a number of recent high profile cases. One only has to think of the shocking events at Mid-Staffordshire Hospital and the maternity unit at Furness General Hospital.
£26.1bn has been set aside by the NHS Litigation Authority to cover outstanding liabilities this year. Staggeringly that is nearly a quarter of the total healthcare budget of £113bn. This demonstrates not only that the NHS is aware of the implications of negligence but also that it is expecting many more claims coming its way. In fact it anticipates an 18% increase on last year’s figures.
It’s not just the NHS though. Last October, Optical Express was ordered to pay more than £500,000 in damages after laser surgery ruined a book dealer’s eyesight.
Clinical negligence occurs and we can only hope that we or our loved ones are not the unfortunate victims when it does. If unhappily negligence does take place and you have reason to complain, it is important to get good advice and representation. Typically cases can be very protracted and it takes time to conduct investigations in order to establish the full facts of the case.
If you would like to discuss anything prior to engagement, take advantage of our open clinics. That is exactly what they are designed for.