Nearly one million patients use the NHS every 36 hours, and some of these patients experience medical negligence. Medical negligence is when a medical professional provides substandard care, causing the patient to suffer an injury or worsened condition. If you have experienced medical negligence, you can file a claim and seek support.
The number of medical negligence payments in the UK reduced in 2019 to 2020. The NHS Resolution’s annual report found that clinical negligence payments reduced by 1.5% from 2019 to 2020. Clinical negligence payments had been on the rise in previous years, so this decrease was considered unusual.
However, the number of clinical negligence claims increased from 2019 to 2020 by 9.3%. The number of claims rose from £10684 to £11682. The NHS is reportedly providing more services to patients, and as a result, there have been more medical negligence claims. Although there have been improvements in the NHS overall, there are clearly still areas that need improving to reduce the number of claims.
The rise of medical negligence claims in 2020 is due to issues with informed consent procedures. The process of obtaining consent from patients is rushed and often not articulated accurately to those who don’t speak English fluently. Some patients feel pressured into the treatment when they don’t fully understand the purpose of it. Medical professionals claim there needs to be an improvement in the communication system and more time available to obtain patient consent. Informed consent is an essential part of patient care and should be carried out thoroughly and sensitively.
Although the number of clinical negligence payments reduced in 2020, £23242 million is still a large sum of money. Clinical negligence claims take a large chunk out of the NHS budget, and as a result, threaten the sustainability of the NHS. The NHS funds clinical negligence payments with the same funds used for patient care and improvements to the medical system. Modification of the patient consent process could minimise litigation costs and reserve more money for patient care and medical equipment.
Negligence claims take large chunks out of the NHS’ scarce budget and resources. There are changes the NHS can make to reduce the chance of medical negligence occurring, and therefore, negligence payments. Hospitals should provide refresher courses on obtaining patient consent and on procedures that often produce negligence claims. For example, medical staff could hold training courses on commonly misdiagnosed conditions, like cancer, meningitis, and diabetes.