One of the questions I am often asked is whether I knew about my son Harrys cranio-facial condition before he was born. The answer is no despite it now looking fairly clear on his scans. For me, knowing wouldn’t have made a difference to whether I continued with the pregnancy or not and so I have never pursued the idea of finding out whether I could claim against the hospital that have actually provided great care for my son since his birth although I know other parents who have (totally their choice).
Medical negligence is an emotive and often a confusing issue. ‘Your Legal Friend’ offer a loose definition of it as being “ where a medical professional provides improper or substandard care, where they fail to carry out their medical obligations and responsibilities; which later results in illness or injury to the patient that could have been avoided had the right standard of care been provided in the first place”. Your Legal Friend have a great section on their website which answers the most frequently asked questions about medical negligence.
Cases don’t have to be as large and complex as our situation is but we do hear of cases in the press where conditions have gone undiagnosed and lead to further illness or in some tragic cases even death.
However, on the other hand, how proactive are we as a nation at chasing up appointments and complaining when we aren’t satisfied with the service? Your Legal Friend conducted a survey of over 2000 people and found that 80% of people wait over a month before chasing up further appointments and over a quarter of people wouldn’t complain if they were unhappy.
Everyone is well aware of the stress that our National Health Service is under at the moment and coming from a family of nurses and health professionals I see first hand how hard our NHS staff are working in increasingly difficult circumstances. I am definitely not one of the 40% who Your Legal Friend found would feel impatient with the NHS despite a wait time of 80 minutes for an appointment recently with Harry. We are blessed to have a free health system and sadly its rarely the success stories that make the news!
I know that if the NHS staff could see each and every patient as quickly and thoroughly as they like they would be over joyed and there would be a huge reduction in claims against the NHS. However, while we have people misusing and draining a system that genuinely ill people need, I do worry that claims will increase as care is stretched to its limit. I think a little more common sense would go a long way – not attending A&E unless absolutely necessary and actually chasing up appointments if we need them rather than sitting back and waiting. Rather than seeing it as being an inconvenience, maybe we should look at it as helping an already stretched service to treat and discharge another case sooner. When the NHS was established, the vision was free health care for all and Im a big believer that team work definitely makes the dream work.
**This was a sponsored collaboration with Your Legal Friend. All views are my own **