The argument that clinical negligence claims are draining the NHS of funds that could better be used for front line services is a common one that is directed at our industry. Figures published state that £1.63bn was paid in compensation to victims of medical accidents in 2017/2018, an increase on the previous number of £1.08bn in 2016/2017. But does the problem really lie with the legal sector?
The Nature of Clinical Negligence Claims
If a claimant has a valid and successful clinical negligence claim against the NHS, then the very nature of that claim means that they have suffered injury or harm that would have been avoided with proper care.
This will inevitably have lead to physical and/or mental suffering, and may have also caused other financial hardships such as loss of earnings. This can have a significant effect on a claimant’s life and the only way of recovering these expenses is by making a civil claim.
It is stated that the number of claims the NHS receives is rising year on year. The implication is that there are a growing number of spurious claimants who are draining resources. This has not been our experience.
Rarely, if ever, do we meet a dishonest claimant. Rather, we find that patients have become better informed and the long-standing reluctance to criticise the NHS or the healthcare professionals operating under it is starting to change. Patients know that a certain standard of care is due to them, and if it is not met, then there is a system in place to compensate them.
The Way Forward
Legal costs are continually a topic for criticism in this area of law. There are reforms in development that will no doubt shake up the system in the coming months, but for now, the legal sector continues to support victims of medical accidents and helps them to claim the fair and reasonable compensation that is due to them.
The only thing that is sure to reduce compensation and legal costs paid out each year is improving standards of care so that the number of claimants with valid claims decreases.
Have You Been Affected by Clinical Negligence?
If you have been affected by clinical negligence and would like to learn more about pursuing a compensation claim, our clinical negligence solicitors can help you find the answers you need. Contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to a team member directly on 0330 123 1229.