I have been reading a number of articles over the last month about the stresses on our NHS in their 70th year.
The government have recently confirmed that the NHS will receive considerably higher funding over the next 5 or so years than they have done previously, in an effort to prop up this ailing service. But is it enough? The article below suggests not.
I have to assume that as this article is written by the National Health Executive the facts are correct. If so, clearly we need to invest much more into our NHS to secure its future for ourselves and our children rather than just enough to keep it going.
Another article by the National Health Executive (see below) is also a cause for concern, particularly when combined with the facts in the article above. It would seem that high vacancy or high turnover is currently a problem with many senior roles.
Settlements for the most serious of clinical negligence claims have increased recently due to a change made by the government in interest rates. This also affects the finances of the NHS. Here is an example of the larger settlements made in serious cases.
We here at BTTJ deal with cases like this on a daily basis. We always try to ensure that the NHS is aware of the potential cost to them of the cases we are dealing with so that they can budget for that potential cost going forward as these cases may take many years to settle.
I strongly believe that if a patient is injured as the result of the negligence of any member of NHS staff, that patient is entitled to full compensation to put them back, so far as is possible, into the position they would have been in had the incident not occurred – or to provide for any care they will need as a result of that negligence. However, I am also concerned that the funding available to the NHS is creating a vicious circle in that it has insufficient funds to properly equip and the staff itself which leads to mistakes being made. This in turn leads to payments for legal settlements which leaves less in the pot for equipment and staffing costs.
What can we do to prevent this?
There is little that we as solicitors can do other than supporting any lobbies to the government to increase its spending in the NHS.
What we can also do is try to work with the NHS to settle any claims we are dealing with efficiently and in the most cost-effective way, we can whilst ensuring our clients receive the compensation they are entitled to and indeed often need to support their ongoing needs. We at BTTJ have been doing this for many years now and will continue to do so to the best of our ability. The team here at BTTJ are highly experienced and have a long history of working closely with the NHS legal team to bring about settlements that provide full restitution for our clients without running up costs for the NHS unnecessarily.
About the author
Dawn Slow has over 30 years of experience dealing with clinical negligence cases of all types. She is also Secretary to LLR CBIT Family Support Group and Trustee of LLR Headway and Vice-Chair of Fundraising, Media and Politics Committee.