If you’ve been considering making medical negligence claims against any Manchester hospitals , then it’s important to know you’re not alone. The Telegraph newspaper have recently unveiled a report into the costs of the NHS and found that £1.2 billion a year is spent on settling medical negligence cases.
This is broken down into £840 million a year on paying out damages to patients, £259 million in legal costs to claimant's lawyers and £92 million to their own lawyers. However, this falls far short of the amount the NHS had set aside - a staggering £22.7 billion, nearly a fifth of its entire budget - for 2013 and 2014 to deal with medical negligence cases.
While the media regularly reports how cuts to the Health Service’s budgets is stretching their ability to properly take care of patients, it’s key to remember that claiming compensation is not what is costing the NHS money – regrettably it’s the negligent medical treatment in the first place that is the cause. What the NHS also fail to admit are that the sums paid to claimant's lawyers also include ever increasing court fees and experts' fees which would be significantly less if those representing the NHS took a more realistic approach to genuine claims and agreed to settle them at an early stage.
According to the NHS Litigation Authority’s figures, around 43 per cent of cases of medical negligence are eventually settled with damages awarded to the claimants. Claims that are initially rejected by the NHS may result in court proceedings. One such high profile example occurred this year, when a mother of a son born with cerebral palsy, who claimed to have been failed by doctors in not advising her to have a caesarean section, was eventually awarded £5.25 million in damages by the Supreme Court. The claim had been refused by the NHS .
A family in Wales has received £4,000 from their local health board after a series of blunders.
The Public Health Ombudsman told the health board they had to pay the family compensation after a number of failures in the treatment of an elderly pensioner’s care at Cardiff Royal Infirmary, Wales Online reported.
First of all medical staff failed to diagnose the patient’s sepsis for 3.5 hours after her arrival, meaning that the illness progressed very rapidly. They then failed to administer antibiotics for 6 hours after her arrival, as well as paracetamol.
The poor records meant that the health ombudsman was unable to correctly identify the methods used to treat the woman, for example whether or not she was given oxygen or overseen by qualified staff, and stated that this was an injustice to the family.
Unfortunately, the Cardiff and Vale Health Board clinical director said he thought there would be no direct changes to the way in which health staff carried out the care for older people using local health services. The Public Health Ombudsman said that local health care workers needed to be reminded of the correct record keeping procedures in order to prevent similar tragedies happening, and ensure that staff were accountable. Sepsis training should also be provided to staff, the Ombudsman argued.
The Public Health Ombudsman is the final stage in a medical complaint case if a complaint has not been managed adequately by the health board.
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