A&E department failures now the biggest source of Medical Negligence claims

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According to a 41-page NHS strategy document, delays, misdiagnosis and poor treatment in Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments are now the main source of NHS negligence claims, overtaking orthopaedic surgery for the first time.

Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patient’s Association said that this highlighted the crisis conditions in A&E departments as a result of chronic underfunding and the patient suffering that arises as a direct consequence. She said amidst the soaring demand, horrific mistakes are occurring.

How have the NHS responded to this research?

NHS Resolution, which handles negligence cases, have responded to say that they have appointed an emergency medicine clinical fellow who has launched a review of A&E claims to help improve patient safety.

According to a recent article in The Times, in 2017-18, NHS Resolution received 1,395 claims about A&E; 7% more than in the previous year. In total, £404m was claimed in damages for A&E errors.

Is it ethical to sue the NHS?

The NHS was created from the ideal that good healthcare should be available to all at their point of need; it’s one of our proudest achievements, not just from a medical perspective, but also for social justice.

Critics will argue that suing the NHS is morally and financially wrong, however, the opposing argument is that, if a person is injured and unable to work as a result of poor medical treatment, the state should support them.

Clinical negligence claims not only assist the individual affected, but also help to protect others by highlighting that patients in A&E are not getting the care and attention they deserve, as happened here. This should lead to investigation and corrective action being taken, thus helping the NHS to improve patient services for all as an end result.

Blog | Is it ethical to sue the NHS?

I want to complain about NHS treatment, what do I do?

In the vast majority of cases, the care provided by the NHS and its staff is excellent. However, as this recent study has highlighted, resources are stretched, mistakes happen and sometimes things go wrong. It is your right as a patient to complain.

If you’re unhappy with your treatment or a negative experience has given you cause for concern, our specialist medical negligence team can guide you through the process, and we also have various guides and templates to help you get started.

Download | NHS complaints procedure

How we can help

If you feel your treatment has been below standard, you have the right to complain. It’s natural to feel bad about complaining about a service which is already under pressure, however, ultimately, it’s to improve patient services and to ensure what happened to you doesn’t happen to anyone else.

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Our expert team of medical negligence solicitors is headed up by panel members of Action Against Medical Accidents, the charity for patient safety and justice, and the Law Society’s Clinical Negligence Accreditation Scheme. We’ve also been awarded a band 1 ranking (the highest available) by Chambers and Partners UK for our medical negligence practice.

To speak to our specialist medical negligence lawyers in Bristol, contact us on 0117 905 9763 or complete our 
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