Young Patients Deserve Better Care on the Road to Adulthood

13th June 2014

A new report published by the health service watchdog has criticised doctors and hospitals for causing seriously ill young people stress and confusion during the transition to adulthood.

The report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) was based on the experiences of 180 young people aged 14 to 25 years or their parents, and it found that the switch to adult services has ‘for some, caused great stress and anxiety’.

It found that ‘some children’s health or therapy services stopped at 16 but there was no adult service available until they were 18. This resulted in essential care being effectively withdrawn.’

It has also discovered that there is ‘inconsistent and often poor information and preparation from children’s services for young people and their parents about the changes they can expect as they move into adult services.’ And this ‘led to a lack of understanding of the process of transition.’

According to the review, many doctors were unaware of the existing guidance available for supporting patients through this process – or it was ignored completely. It describes a health and social-care system that is not working, and one that is failing ill young people at a crucial time in their lives.

In order to smooth this transition process, the CQC reported the NHS needs to implement system-wide change urgently, with GPs playing a key role.

The transition to adulthood can be difficult for many children, let alone for those with complex health problems, and trauma and stress that occurs at this crucial point in their lives can remain with them for a long time.

Many children and young people are being failed by the health service in this way. And if someone you know has experienced physical injury or psychological distress as a result of this, it may be possible to file a claim for clinical negligence.

When doing so, it is important to be aware that rules for pursuing a claim are different for those under 18 – individuals are entitled to do so at any time after the negligence has occurred, up until the eve of their 21st birthday, and claims must be submitted by a ‘litigation friend’ – a responsible adult (for example, a parent, guardian or someone connected but unrelated) appointed to do so on their behalf.

As experts in medical negligence, we’ll be able to let you know if you or your loved one has a case and whether it is eligible for a claim. We will make sure the process is as easy and hassle-free as possible, and will be on hand to provide guidance every step of the way.

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