UK clinical negligence — latest news and support sources

If you’ve lived in a nation with no public health provision, you’ll probably appreciate the NHS —despite challenges like funding cuts, it’s still well-regarded worldwide.

But there are rare occasions where the service NHS patients receive is substandard and they suffer as a result.

If you’ve noticed recent headlines on UK clinical negligence, here’s a roundup of the latest news and some support sources that should prove invaluable if you’re ever affected.

BMA and GMC

The British Medical Association (BMA) has called for the introduction of a specialist police unit to investigate cases of medical manslaughter — according to professional medics site Pulse.

Giving evidence to the General Medical Council (GMC) review of how the criminal charge is applied in the medical sector, the BMA stated that a lack of such a unit meant investigations took too long and its establishment would ensure prompt processing, consistency and reliability.

Hopeful that the review will make cultural transformation more likely and embed a ‘no blame’ culture, the BMA has contributed its own recommendations.

These include the development of a mandatory human factors training programme for anyone involved in local investigations and compulsory core training in drafting medico legal reports and understanding courtroom procedures for expert witnesses.

For a full response to the GMC review, consult the BMA website.

Welsh medical mistakes

According to a recent report featured in WalesOnline, the country’s NHS is losing a considerable amount of cash on medical negligence compensation payments.

During 2017-18, the Welsh NHS paid out £91,377,954 for clinical negligence payouts in 792 separate cases — a 43 per cent increase on the 2013-14 figure.

The sum accounts for 1.6 per cent of the total Welsh NHS budget of £6 billion and some politicians claim it’s compounding the problems of a service already underfunded.

Earlier this year, the Health Secretary announced plans for a government-funded scheme to provide clinical negligence indemnity for GPs in Wales, to soothe concerns about rising indemnity costs leading to retention problems in the profession.

If you’d like clarification on the scheme, look at the Welsh Government Guidance.

Support sources

If you believe that you or a loved one have fallen victim to clinical negligence, there are several sources of support available.

But you should remember that the only outcome for a claimant that wins such a claim is an award of financial damages — the court can’t discipline a doctor or enforce a change of practices or policies in an institution.

If it’s more important to you to receive a full apology and explanation of what went wrong during medical treatment and why, the most straightforward route to resolution is lodging a complaint with the Health Service Commissioner — but if you’ve already started legal proceedings, this organisation won’t run a simultaneous investigation.

Mental health charity Mind has a helpful guide on their website — including explanations of basic legal terminology and procedures, costs and time limits for bringing a claim.

Once you’re sure you want to proceed to a court case, contact a law firm like Switalskis Solicitors — they’ll guide you through each stage of the process and are recognised amongst the top clinical negligence teams in the UK by Legal 500 UK.

That ends this instalment of the latest UK clinical negligence news — it’s hopefully clarified a few key issues.

Have you ever claimed for clinical negligence? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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