What would a patient change about the NHS?

5th June 2013

Fletchers Solicitors represents people who have experienced medical negligence, often under NHS care. While we fight hard to win clients the compensation they deserve and secure financial support to cover costs like ongoing rehabilitation, one of the overarching functions of medical negligence litigation is to better the outlook of future care for all.

Here, we share some of the most important things that patients tell us they would change about the NHS in light of their experience of medical negligence:

Compassion and care
We know that care should always be at the frontline of services like the NHS. However, it’s not always the case. The ‘culture of silence’ identified within the healthcare service following revelations of gross negligence at Stafford Hospital between January 2005 and March 2009 is believed to exist at all levels. Reversing this and creating in its place a culture of compassion would save immeasurable patient harm. It’s true that many claims of medical negligence that Fletchers represent would be avoided were care reinstated as a fundamental pillar of the NHS.

It’s going to take how long?
Needlessly excessive waiting times are a key factor in many instances of medical negligence cases we see – whether this is time spent waiting in A&E, the amount of time it takes to be admitted into care, or even time wasted on paperwork and protocol between examinations and tests. While the NHS continues to battle against widespread understaffing and insufficient funding, it cannot allow patient safety to be jeopardised as a result. It is here that the NHS might best focus its efforts to improve.

Improving the patient’s experience by finding ways to reduce waiting times and other glaring delays would surely benefit the NHS itself through reduced complaints and better service, as well as minimising the risk of medical negligence.

Being truthful with feedback, whether good or bad
Time, money, reputation and harm might all be saved were healthcare professionals within the NHS actively willing to admit failings. In instances of medical negligence, and particularly in cases where a practitioner or practitioners are found to be at fault, being open and honest would make a real difference to those who have suffered because of failings within the NHS.

A simple heartfelt apology
At Fletchers, we work with a range of people seeking expert advice and the best representation for their medical negligence claim. While each case is different, the common thread between our clients is an absence of apology, and the frustration caused when wrongdoing is, not only unacknowledged, but denied until legal action is pursued. The NHS would save much grief by offering a simple apology to patients who have been knowingly mistreated.

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