The NHS in the UK is already under immense pressure. With staff strike action across various departments having already taken place and over-reliance on foreign staff and worker shortages, the demand that NHS employees are seeing is at a record high.
As stories continue to hit the headlines highlighting the wait for ambulances, lengthy treatment waiting times and poorer outcomes for patients, the last thing the NHS needs is extra costs. But with rising medical negligence cases, the pressure is continuing to increase.
What is medical negligence?
Medical negligence occurs when a medical professional fails to provide the correct standard of care which results in injury, or even death. Patients, or their families, often seek compensation through medical negligence claims solicitors as a way of providing funding for care, which is sometimes needed for life.
Why is medical negligence increasing?
As claims mount up, some payouts, including those related to maternity, are costing the NHS more than the price of the original care. In the year 2021/22, the overall NHS claims bill was £2.5 billion, up from £2.3 billion the previous year.
While this suggests that medical negligence cases are on the increase, it could mean that the value of individual payouts is rising, especially as more claims are now getting resolved before reaching the stage of legal proceedings.
However, with demand at record levels across multiple NHS departments, it’s clear that action needs to be taken to provide the right number of fully trained staff and to create better outcomes for patients.
The impact of medical negligence
Medical negligence can have devastating and often lifelong effects.
- Physical harm – Injuries due to misdiagnosis, incorrect treatment or mistakes during treatment or procedures can result in physical damage to a patient.
- Emotional harm – The emotional effects of medical negligence can be just as, if not more, distressing. This can affect both the patient themselves and their families.
- Lifestyle effects – Depending on the nature of the injury or damage, a patient’s lifestyle can be dramatically affected, leaving them unable to do the things they used to, such as looking after dependents or engaging in hobbies.
- Financial effects – Being unable to work due to injury can cause financial challenges and an inability to afford general living costs.
While it’s important to seek justice for medical negligence damage for financial reasons, it’s also a crucial aspect in ensuring the same lack of care doesn’t affect anyone else.
Claims can help identify areas that need attention and ensure that professionals address any areas that could potentially contribute to a substandard of care. In turn, these factors can contribute to a reduction in the need to claim.