Medical Negligence: What can you do when hospital treatment has gone wrong?
Claims against anyone within the medical sector are a small percentage of all treatment carried out and whilst the NHS and private medical providers carry out a fantastic job, sometimes they fall below the standard that they are expected to provide. It is in these situations that there is a potential to bring a claim. Claims are normally referred to as either a medical negligence claim or a clinical negligence claim. A specialist Clinical Negligence Solicitor is required to bring such a claim.
Unfortunately mistakes do happen and apart from rare examples, such as Ian Patterson and Harold Shipman, these are not deliberate. However, the same as when someone crashes a car into your car, these are mistakes and can in some circumstances lead to life changing consequences.
The process of bringing a claim is not straight forward. A specialist Clinical Negligence Solicitor has contact with some of the best experts to assess if your treating medical practitioner has fallen below the standard expected of them.
What can a claim achieve? Of course there is a financial compensation aspect which can be obtained but there can also be assistance with treatment needs. An additional aspect of bringing a medical negligence claim is that these hold medical practitioners to account and that in turn highlights the problems to management. This can prevent similar medical mistakes happening again because they are aware of the risks and issues that exist as a result of the medical negligence claim that has been made.
Claims can occur in any hospital. Some hospitals have more incidents than others and this can lead to what is known as a postcode lottery for treatment.
An example of problems within hospitals is The Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs three hospitals in Worcester, Redditch and Kidderminster.
Nicola Cummings a Senior Clinical Negligence Solicitor based in Worcester said “Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has improved. However, up until September 2020 this trust was in special measures for 5 years. This situation has led to many medical mistakes and omissions, which have unfortunately led to claims. A claim can have many benefits to the individual and their family and it also highlights an issue which can stop others suffering the same medical mistakes.”
During the 5 year period where the Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust has been in special measures there have been superbugs in the hospital, delays of hours just to get patients seen, who have been brought by ambulance to Worcestershire’s hospitals and avoidable deaths. All of these pre-dated Covid 19 so this had no bearing on this substandard service, which placed the whole region’s hospitals into special measures and put patients at risk.
The reason Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust was placed in special measures in 2015 was that the Care and Quality Commission carried out a 6 day audit of the Trust and rated them “Inadequate overall”.
Professor Sir Mike Richards from the COQC said one reason the trust was rated “inadequate” for being well-led and safe was because when things went wrong they were “not investigated promptly or thoroughly”.
Whilst this highlights an area of failing within this NHS Trust this is not confined to this NHS Trust. The culture within a lot of Trusts is that when something goes wrong there is not the openness and transparency to help those affected and their families, which makes these situations especially hard.
Our specialist Solicitors can assist you to understand what has happened and what investigations are necessary to get the answers and compensation for you and your family.