In the past few years, the number of medical negligence claims has risen steadily.Most medical negligence lawyers report that they have been busier than ever before, and the official figures reflect this. The number of medical negligence claims made during 2013 has risen by 18%.
The exact reason behind this drastic increase is difficult to pinpoint. There are many factors feeding into the fact that more people are suing NHS Trusts for negligence.
In the past, people have been reluctant to sue the NHS. Angie Wilson from Streatham, who was left with a shoulder injury after a heart operation, is an example. When asked why she did not sue the hospital she replied ‘They saved my life, how can I sue them? They just made a mistake.’
However, recent news stories about, for example, the Stafford hospital investigation and Colchester hospital cancer issue are changing attitudes. These reports have made patients far less understanding and lenient when things go wrong. Today, they are far more likely to consider litigation than they once were.
Members of the public are far more aware of the fact things can go wrong and are less trusting of the NHS than they once were. When they enter hospital, they are actively looking for issues and reporting their concerns. Hospitals, clinics and The Patients Association have all seen complaints increase.
To some extent, people see it as their duty to do something when things are not right at their local hospital. They do not want others to experience the same problem. To make sure they actually are listened to and things actually change more and more people are taking the step of suing for medical negligence.
The fact that more medical negligence cases are being bought is having an impact on the way the NHS is run. Calls from charities and associations like the National Patient Safety Agency and AvMA for better risk assessment and monitoring are being heeded. Over the past few years, many of the NHS Trusts with issues have made great progress and now provide excellent care. For those involved in medical negligence claims like Bolt Burton Kemp this is a very welcome side effect of their work.
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