Are NHS delays leading to medical negligence?

It is well documented that the NHS is under serious strain and it is going to face even more pressure as we head into winter.

With the extra volume of people needing medical attention and the shortage of resources within the NHS, delays in seeing a medical professional are getting longer and longer.

According to BBC, one in four people admitted to hospital are waiting more than 4 hours for a bed, with 1 in 3 A&E cases taking over 30 minutes to be handed over to a member of staff.

NHS medical negligence statistics

What do medical negligence claims look like?

Medical negligence claims generally come about due to the act of negligence during a procedure or due to misdiagnosis or a delay in diagnosis.

There are three main factors which need to be considered when considering whether to bring a claim. You must be able to establish all points for a claim to be successful.

  1. Proving a duty of care is owed to you as a patient

All medical professionals have a duty of care to patients, to make sure that the services they receive are of the required standard and if this is broken, you may be entitled to make a claim.

  1. Proving that there was a breach of the duty of care

It is necessary to establish that negligence/error has occurred and/or that a mistake/error has been made by the treating physician

  1. Proving damage

It is necessary, as well as identifying that an error has been made, to establish causation  i.e. that the error caused or contributed to the injury/damage sustained.

For Example:

  • You undergo surgery but fail to recover as expected, it transpires that surgical equipment or packing out materials have been retained, which causes you to have an infection and therefore require additional treatment and/surgery.
  • You undergo surgery for a hip replacement, the surgery is not carried out to a good standard and requires further surgery to correct.
  • You may attend hospital with an arm injury, you’re told it’s not broken and carry on, only to later be told that it was broken and has not healed correctly. As a result and you now require surgery which may not have been needed had the fracture been earlier identified and correctly treated.
  • You attend your GP with a sore on your foot or leg. The GP fails to adequately treat and/or refer for proper investigation which leads to severe infection and possibly amputation.
  • You are not properly cared for during pregnancy and labour result in trauma to either yourself or your child which may cause long term conditions such as Cerebral Palsy.
  • You attend your GP with symptoms of cancer. He does not think it is anything serious and he fails to make appropriate recommendations/referrals. You are later diagnosed with cancer and the delay has caused the cancer to be more intrusive, which may require significantly more treatment and/or may be more difficult to treat and/or reduce life expectancy.

So, how does NHS delays lead to negligence?

Delayed treatments are one of the most common reasons for claims and are often against the NHS, due to the pressure that they’re under.

Delays in being seen can be extremely serious as it can cause patients to suffer avoidable pain and suffering for patients and due to the pressure on the NHS, unfortunately these types of compensation claims are on the increase.

Some of the most common reasons for delayed treatment compensation claims relate to:

  • Lack of communication in the NHS
  • Lack of expertise of medical staff
  • Failure of a medical professional to refer patients when needed
  • Failure to follow up test results

It is commonly known to the public and by medical professionals that spotting and treating conditions early gives the patient the best chance of a recovery.

If you have suffered as a result of delays in treatment or have any other concerns about the treatment you have received at the hands of a medical professions, our specialist team at Youngs Law would be very happy to discuss those concerns with you.

We have a team of experienced medical negligence solicitors on hand to help you get the compensation you deserve. To get in touch fill out a contact form or give us a call on 033 33 582 582.

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