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Longer waiting times

2nd April 2019

The Law Society Gazette and the Daily Mail has recently published articles in relation to how longer NHS waiting times threaten to increase the number of clinical negligence claims.

At the same time, the Daily Mirror has published an article detailing how hundreds of hospital blunders are caused by staff shortages which will again increase the number of claims made.

The articles highlight how lack of staffing and investment with the NHS is having a negative impact on the care provided. The shortage of nurses and pressures put on staff are resulting in accidents being made which range from dispensing errors in relation to medication to avoidable deaths following routine operations.

Recent reports state that there are currently at least 400,000 unfilled posts in the NHS, which often means that ‘bank staff’ are employed to cover shifts at an increased expense to the NHS.

The National Audit Office has reported that four in ten claims against the NHS relate to delays in treatment or diagnosis. This is only set to increase in light of the growing delays regarding routine operations. Whilst these operations are ‘routine’ or ‘elective’, the delays can often result in a worsening of the patient’s condition.

Lucia Parkinson, Medical Negligence Senior Solicitor at Fletchers Solicitors, said: “The general consensus in the press and amongst the legal profession is that the only way for the NHS to reduce the number of clinical negligence claims is to invest heavily in staffing. 

“Given the majority of claims we deal with are in relation to delays in treatment, failure to diagnose and failure to refer patients for further investigations, this highlights that the lack of time spent with the patient due to staffing issues and pressure to see more and more patients, is having a detrimental impact on patient care and also resulting in inevitable negligence claims.”

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