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Is Our National Health Service Losing Public Trust To Deliver A Good Service?

There has been a dramatic increase in NHS compensation claims involving medical negligence as a result of the rising cases of healthcare scandals. Released official figures indicate that the registered number of cases have increased by about 20% in one year, and settled on what is an 80% increase since 2008. The recent forecasts by experts in the field indicate that the negligence bill will hit the £19 million mark which is close to a fifth of NHS total budget. A total of about 16, 006 bereaved relatives and patients lodged claims related to health services in the period between 2012 and 2013. This is an increase of 2,489 claims lodged the previous year and represents an increase of 18.4 percent.

According to professionals, the increase of figures is an indication that more and more people are losing the tolerance they had on poor healthcare and this has led to legal actions especially because of the hospitals not explaining their mistakes and failures, and refusing to apologize. The figures, according to experts, are extremely worrying and while some of these cases involve ambulance-chasing lawyers, most reflect the failures within the healthcare profession and this is why it has become a major concern.

Last year alone, about £1 billion was spent in settlement. A quarter of this amount went to legal fees with most of the amount being paid to the “no win, no fee” lawyers. This system gives the law firms the freedom of charging exorbitant services when the claims become successful.

Experts in the field have said that the public has become impatient with the mistakes happening in the healthcare industry and that most people will go for legal action when all other avenues have failed or are not working for them. These are the people who only want an apology, an explanation and changes that will result in the safety of other people. But since most hospitals and healthcare facilities do not offer the explanation, apology or show any concerns, the cases end up in courts. To emphasize on this, there are figures showing that 5 legal firms got £35 million in 2011 to 2012 all being from legal action related NHS compensation claims.

Lee Kirton who is a NHS claim solicitor at Tylers Solicitors commented on the exposed claims reported stated “Whilst humans make mistakes, some mistakes in an environment of trust are made and do not get brought to attention. The NHS need to listen to its patients who have concerns and where a problem arises need to be dealt with using compliant procedures which should be followed through. The NHS does a superior job, but in unfortunate cases, it is within my legal power to help bring justice to those who have been mistreated when it shouldn't have happened.”

Shocking reports have shown that a lot of patients are neglected and this is an obvious reason why the NHS compensation claims have risen and this has resulted in the increase of the bills which are paid to the patients and bereaved relatives.

Experts said that they are expecting an explosion in claims associated with medical negligence especially following a report by a professional showing that more than expected patients are dying as a result of negligence by medical facilities.

The Department of Health has said that though most patients are safe and receive good care as they should, there are some few cases which result in the many complains that ultimately lead to legal action and claims. The department has also indicated that it will be improving all elements to ensure that patient safety is guaranteed and also manage to reduce the NHS compensation claims – the priority will however be in the patients’ safety.


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