There has been increasing interest in the press in relation to the legal fees involved in clinical negligence cases with a quote that these types of claims cost £1.1 billion during 2014/15 placing pressure on the NHS.
The NHS faces a number of challenges not least from factors such as increasing patient demand, an ageing population and the requirement to make significant cost cuts simultaneously. While the media focusses on the costs involved in clinical negligence cases, the headlines fail to paint the full picture.
When a patient is seriously injured due to the negligence of a medical professional they have a right to make a claim for compensation against those responsible for the incident. Many of the clients we act for have suffered physical and/or psychological injuries due to avoidable mistakes that have left a significant and permanent mark on their lives.
Some recent examples have included a client who was unable to return to work because of his injury forcing him to give up his career, another was left infertile when he had planned to have more children with his partner while another was left fighting bowel cancer on the other side of the world with her young family.
While NHS spending fuels the news and scrutiny over how taxpayers’ money is being spent by the health service continues, it is important to remember that patients only instruct solicitors when they have been significantly injured.
A claim for medical negligence also cannot be won without evidence. This involves the legal profession working with independent medical experts to investigate and prove that negligence has indeed occurred. With a team of medical negligence solicitors specialising in these complex matters for in excess of 30 years, we have certainly seen costs increasing not least due to the fact that the NHS Litigation Authority is taking longer to settle claims hiking costs for both sides in the process – even in cases where there is clear and straight forward evidence of medical malpractice.
What this means is not only an increase in the legal costs complained of but more importantly, it means that injured patients suffer a delay in receiving the compensation that they need and deserve to cover the cost of their loss of earnings for example, or the cost of having their home adapted.
Arguably, the media and the NHS are looking in the wrong place in relation to the money spent and costs that should be saved. A greater focus on and investment in preventing medical negligence taking place in the first place is needed. Settling cases where a claim is relatively clear cut sooner rather than later will also save significant costs and would not only help injured patients move on with their lives, but also allows the NHS to prioritise improving patient care.
While the media looks to apportion blame in these matters, it often neglects to remember the injured patients at the heart of these legal battles.
If you, or someone you know, have suffered a significant injury as a result of medical negligence, one of our team of specialists would be happy to advise on whether you may have a case to make a claim for compensation.
Linder Myers Solicitors has one of the largest and most experienced team of specialist clinical and medical negligence lawyers in England and Wales. Our team of experts are readily available to listen to and discuss incidents of negligence.
If you, or someone you know, have been injured due to negligence by a medical professional, including hospital staff, GPs or pharmacists, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of our team on 0800 085 3295.
Alternatively, please email a summary of your potential claim and contact details to firstname.lastname@example.orgFind out more about our Medical Negligence department Download our step by step guide to pursuing a medical negligence claim guide