How often do Cases of Medical Negligence Occur?
Although negligence in the medical field is something we hope you will never have to experience the fact remains that it does happen, and perhaps more often than you might think.
In fact, the Department of Health estimates that as many as ten percent of hospital inpatient admissions result in an event which has a detrimental impact on the patient.
Whether it be intentional or accidental, malpractice in GP surgeries and hospitals occurs daily, with medical negligence cases being paid for by the NHS reaching high numbers every year.
In the past year alone they have paid out £1.63 billion to patients who have made hospital or GP negligence claims.
If you have experienced medical negligence, we can help you claim compensation.
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What Would Qualify for a Medical Negligence Claim?
Negligence is the act, or failure to act, of a medical professional which does not correspond with the accepted standard of medical care either in private or NHS GP practices and hospitals.
Medical negligence can range from an incorrect distribution of medication to cancer misdiagnosis cases.
Failure to treat a patient, or not warning them about risks of a proposed course of treatment is also considered medical negligence.
Medical negligence further includes:
- Wrongly executed surgery
- Ignorance of symptoms
- Failure to analyse patient history, notes and X-Rays
- Incorrect diagnosis of any disease or condition
- Delay in treatment
- Poor psychiatric monitoring and care e.g. psychotherapy and/or counselling
- Dentistry faults
- Pregnancy and childbirth complications which could have been avoided, including damage to an unborn child
- Failure of a medical product
Does one of above types of negligence sound familiar to you?
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Rules of Making a Negligence Claim
A medical negligence claim has the potential to be valid and successful as long as there is either objective or subjective belief that the medical professional could have prevented the pain, injury, or ongoing issue.
The initial treatment also has to have taken place within the last three years, or the claimant must still be suffering due to the medical practitioner’s negligence.
Like any claim – without evidence of any harm caused it is unlikely that it will end successfully for the claimant.
Three-step Protocol for Medical Negligence Claims
Below is the three-step protocol which is followed in all cases of negligence or gross negligence in GP surgeries or hospitals to establish whether a claim is valid:
- The person is owed a duty of care
- It has been established that a breach of that duty of care has occurred
- As a direct result of that breach harm has been caused
The three-step procedure relies on whoever is claiming that they are the victim of medical negligence to provide evidence that the doctor or service – such as the NHS – has breached their duty of care.
Medical practitioners in the UK hold a duty of care to their patients, which asserts that they should always act in the best interests of patients, within their competence and not act in a way that may cause harm.
For example, a doctor’s failure to prevent a suicide of which they had previously noticed warning signs would be categorised as negligence.
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Clinical Negligence: A Significant Problem
According to the NHS’s most recent Annual Report and Accounts (2017/18), the number of new clinical negligence claims was reduced by 0.12 percent in comparison to the previous year.
Although this decrease is a small improvement, it is actually the first time in a decade that this figure has fallen.
From 2008 to 2016, the amount that NHS Trusts spent on payouts for negligence claims increased by almost 2.5 percent.
Furthermore, the damages paid to patients as a result of their successful hospital claim increased by 50 percent from £1.083 to £1.632 billion in the last year.
It is clear that despite a minor reduction in new claims over the past year negligence claims in hospitals and GP surgeries are still causing a major headache for the NHS, whose practitioners are insured through the Trust itself and is therefore whom the legal fees fall back on.
NHS Spending Blamed on Personal Injury Discount Rate
There exists an opinion that the overwhelming rise in NHS spending on negligence cases can be blamed on the recently altered Personal Injury Discount Rate.
The decrease – which somewhat confusingly has increased the cost of long-term medical negligence payouts – apparently is responsible for just under 80 percent of the increase in damages paid in the last year.
Despite this is also important to remember that without the negligence claims being made initially, the NHS would not be liable to pay for legal costs.
Medical Professionals Accountable for Malpractice
Ultimately we believe that if a medical professional has performed malpractice they should be held accountable for their actions, and despite the number of claims made this year lowering slightly, the fact of the matter is that medical malpractice is an ongoing issue in the UK.
Could it be that a large part of the NHS’s financial struggle can be put down to hospital negligence due to the immense pressures of being under-resourced and understaffed.
Pursuing a Medical Negligence Claim with AWH Solicitors
AWH Solicitors are committed to a client-first approach.
Your needs will always take priority, and we aim to keep the process as simple and straightforward as we can.
If you think you might have a medical negligence claim and would like to find out more from our clinical negligence solicitors please call on 0844 414 0667 for a free initial consultation.Get in touch
Why Choose AWH Solicitors
We value honesty and transparency and believe above all that legal services should be fairly priced, so they can be available to anyone.
Our solicitors are highly experienced and have an abundance of experience in their field of law, ensuring you the best chance at a successful outcome of your case or claim.
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How to get StartedTo get your case started with AWH Solicitors you can simply pick up the phone or request a call back from our friendly solicitors at a time that suits you.
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