What would a medical negligence professional change about the NHS?

31st May 2013

What practical measures could be taken to help improve the NHS? The medical negligence team at Fletchers offer some suggestions:

It starts with frontline care While management remains culpable for the broad failings identified within the NHS, care begins with the individuals working at the frontline of hospitals and other health facilities. Many problems at the root of cases we represent might be avoided were a better system of care established. Encouraging a culture of care from the outset of a nurse’s career, for example, would be a great place to start.

Sound out the ‘culture of silence’¬†Over the past few months we’ve witnessed an unravelling of the so-called culture of silence within the NHS, which has meant hospital errors and wrongdoings are tragically underreported. Just as a culture of genuine care must be instilled within the NHS in order for it to better serve the public, so too must a culture of acceptance to admit failings that occur, be that of individual practitioners, medical equipment, or entire systems vital to patient care.

Let’s push for better legal process Were the NHS more transparent in its dealings, both time and money would be saved on frequently lengthy investigations into claims of medical negligence brought against it. The NHS might function best by acknowledging the role of medical litigation in improving standards, and embracing it as a watchdog for its operations.

Victims of medical negligence typically seek an apology for their suffering, as well as an explanation to help them to understand what has gone wrong and how this has occurred. The NHS can certainly afford to get better at apologising in instances it is found to be at fault.

Investing in the NHS Money saved on drawn-out legal proceedings and efforts to account for instances of medical negligence that have been intentionally covered-up (or not reported in the first place) would be better used on improving a patient’s experience. Lifting the standard of emergency care, reducing hospital waiting times, and ensuring there are sufficient healthcare personal to meet demand are simple steps the NHS can take to better the outlook for patients.

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