Medical Negligence

A Call for Action in the Wake of Royal Sussex County Hospital Investigation into alleged medical negligence

November 30, 2023
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By Francesca Paul

In the aftermath of the recent revelations surrounding alleged medical negligence and cover-ups at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, the imperative for greater transparency in addressing poor outcomes has never been more pronounced. The story, as reported in The Guardian on November 26, 2023, sheds light on the ongoing police investigation into the general surgery and neurosurgery departments at the hospital, Operation Bamber. The team at Fletchers Solicitors are here to reassure people and provide guidance to those affected on the legal route for seeking justice. We do offer a Free Case Assessment should anyone have any questions or concerns they would like to raise. We also understand that the paying for legal advice upfront may not be possible which is why for the majority of our cases we work on a capped No Win, No Fee agreement.

The call for transparency is not just a legal or ethical necessity; it is a fundamental right for patients and their families who have been affected by these unfortunate incidents. As specialist solicitors dealing with group medical negligence claims, we are acutely aware of the profound impact such cases can have on individuals and their loved ones. It is imperative that the Trust acknowledges the gravity of these situations and provides more information to those directly affected.

Francesca commented “Having seen these types of incidents on an all-too-regular basis, it is so important that the Trust acknowledges and provides more information to those patients and families affected. This will not only give people peace of mind but allow them to move forward. Speed is of the essence; we don’t want internal bureaucracy to impede the outcomes and resolutions needed.”

The story in The Guardian underscores the urgency of the matter, with the police investigating alleged mistakes in the treatment of over 100 patients from 2015 to 2021, including at least 40 deaths. Families and campaigners are rightly calling for the suspension of surgeons whose cases are under review, emphasizing the need for accountability and patient safety.

The reluctance of the University Hospitals Sussex NHS foundation trust to suspend surgeons, citing confidence in those involved, raises serious concerns. Transparency is not only a matter of accountability but a crucial step toward rebuilding trust in the healthcare system. Patients and their families deserve to be informed about the ongoing investigations, and the internal safeguards and auditing processes of the hospital should be subject to external scrutiny.

The case of Audrey Sharma, whose husband suffered severe disability after being misdiagnosed and undergoing surgery, exemplifies the distressing experiences of those affected. The refusal of the Trust to acknowledge the surgeon’s cases being under review and attributing the stroke to an “unavoidable complication” raises questions about the hospital’s commitment to transparency and accountability.

The letter from Sussex police urging Sharma to provide a full statement about her husband’s treatment further emphasises the need for a swift and thorough investigation. It is disconcerting that the neurosurgeons named in a 2021 dossier detailing concerning cases are still actively practicing, without any suspension or investigation by the General Medical Council.

In light of these developments, it is crucial for the Royal Sussex County Hospital to prioritise transparency and take immediate action to fully investigate surgeons whose cases are under review. The well-being and trust of patients and their families must be the top priority, and any hesitancy in addressing these issues may erode the public’s confidence in the healthcare system.

As legal professionals, we will continue to advocate for the rights of those affected by medical negligence and work towards a healthcare system that values transparency, accountability, and, most importantly, the well-being of its patients. We work with thousands of patients each year who have been a victim of avoidable negligence so feel that we are well positioned to comment on this and try to help those involved.

We would like to offer our support to anyone who has been involved and may require legal assistance. We offer a free consultation and can talk people through what their rights are and if we would be able to help.

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