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The Medical Ombudsman Service

If you are concerned or otherwise aggrieved about treatment received on the NHS, your first port of call may be the internal complaints procedure administered by the Trust responsible for the Hospital in question.

If you are still dissatisfied, and are not minded to consult a solicitor, where next?

In that case you need to contact the (Parliamentary and) Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO).

Their job is to investigate complaints of unfair treatment or poor service received by the public from (government departments and other public organisations and) the NHS in England. (more…)

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Coroners, inquests and medical negligence claims

It will surprise most people that there has been a coroner since about the 12th century.

The function of the coroner is to make inquiries into the cause of certain deaths – see below.

A coroner will be a barrister, solicitor, or registered medical practitioner, of no less than 5 years standing but ordinarily considerably more.

The office of coroner is an independent one i.e. it is quite separate and distinct from any judicial process, albeit coronial decisions are susceptible to legal challenge. (more…)

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Doctors failing to act on medical test results

Hospital investigations

It is axiomatic that there is no point in a person undergoing expensive and often time consuming tests and investigations if the results of those tests are not monitored and, where necessary, appropriate steps taken if the results indicate the need to take them.

However, it appears that a fundamental failure to do so is not simply a problem in the UK but in other clinical systems such as the US equivalent as well.

In this day and age, whether we like it or not, we are all accustomed to and heavily reliant upon computer led diary and reminder systems, medical organizations as much as you and us. However, as clichéd as it may sound, such systems are only as good as the quality of information input in the first place. You cannot get out what you have not put in. (more…)

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Cover ups and Clinical Negligence – the new duty of candour

April 1st 2013 was a seminal date for so many legal professionals, for so many reasons.

For the average man in the Street, the most important change was that from that date onwards he was liable to have any compensation obtained following a successful accident or clinical negligence claim reduced in order to contribute to his legal fees. Excellent news, and a windfall, for insurance companies and Defendant organizations but not so good for victims.

Not so well known however was that on the same date the duty of candour was introduced to the NHS as a regulatory requirement, subject to review by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

This followed a number of well publicized cover ups in the NHS and an outcry and demand for a legal requirement for clinical practice and staff to be open and honest with patients or their next of kin when harm had been caused. (more…)

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Unecessary medical interventions – especially with childbirth

What is a medical intervention?

Essentially it is some positive action taken by a medical practitioner to avoid harm to a patient or to improve his or her physical or psychological function or well-being…and specifically in relation to a nursing intervention it is some action taken in accordance with a nursing plan, such as administering medication, turning a patient to avoid bedsores, giving treatment for the current condition.

Examples:

Not all medical interventions are entirely necessary. Several common and repeated examples of such practices are as follows:

1. During labour/child birth – e.g. induction, often a response to pressure from anxious or excited parents as opposed to due to genuine clinical need; and caesarian section, the frequency of which has increased, again not always due to actual medical necessity, despite the seriousness of the procedure;

2. CT or MRI scans which are said to be over used and often ordered as a means of patient reassurance rather than diagnosis

3. Antibiotics – i.e. being too swiftly or unnecessarily prescribed (more…)

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Clinical Negligence – The Duty of Care

Who is subject to this?

Clinical (also called “medical”) negligence applies to the actions of all sorts of medical people: nurses, midwives, doctors, dentists, therapists, chemists, opticians, or any other healthcare service provider.

As soon as a doctor, nurse (or other clinician) has accepted a responsibility to provide medical care or treatment to a patient, from that moment on he owes a legally enforceable duty of care to him/her.

That duty of care covers both every action taken by the clinician and every omission to act.

It is not necessary for there to be any form of legal contract between patient and clinician e.g. when the former pays the latter privately to do a “nose job”, for example. The very fact that a nurse or doctor is professing to have a particular skill, is consulted by the (unskilled) person, and uses his/her skill to care for/treat the patient is sufficient. This is why a clinician employed by the NHS owes that duty of care to, for example, people using the hospital in which he/she works; alternatively why a GP owes the same duty to his/her patients. (more…)

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Dermal filler or Botox treatment claims

Whether you have the vanity and resources of Simon Cowell or not, it has become extremely convenient and easy to have those nagging lines improved by a simple, relatively pain-free injection or two.

When it goes wrong, however, or the results are not what you were promised, is there anything you can do?

What should I do?

Well, first and foremost, do the obvious: complain to the therapist or clinician as soon as possible, and keep a record of your complaint. Allowing him/her to take further action may of course be what you want…..but it may equally compound the issue and be the very last thing you need.

Above all else, seek advice from your GP as to what medical intervention may be available. You might be referred to a dermatologist, plastic or cosmetic surgeon.

When you feel able, however, and if you are so minded, consult a solicitor from Lloyd Green to find out whether you can make a successful claim for compensation.

Legal considerations

In our experience, these Botox/filler procedures are most frequently administered by staff who are nearly always medically unqualified and usually lacking in all but the most rudimentary of training. A “Level 2 Certificate” or such like quoted is commonplace but can mean very little.

Quite often the clinician has performed the procedure reasonably enough but this does not necessarily absolve them from legal liability. If your post-treatment appearance was not as it was promised to be (adverts, photographs, and verbal promises are usually made to encourage you to have the procedure in the first place) you may have been the victim of a so-called misrepresentation which can lead to damages, which can include the cost of getting experienced, professional treatment.

Obviously, in addition, a claim can always be considered where an actual careless error was made in the course of the procedure.

Is it worth claiming?

The amount you may be entitled to is always dependent upon the degree and extent of any disfigurement or impairment, and the degree of permanency of the same.

Other aggravating features include the extent to which the treatment impacts upon, for example, other facial functions e.e.g speech, sensitivity, taste, vision.

Or where you may have had a psychological reaction, quite understandably, to the unsatisfactory outcome of the treatment, and the extent and length of this reaction.

Usually, awards tend to be between £1,500 and £2,500.00 but will be considerably greater than this if the effects are more serious and/or more long lasting.

As stated above, you would ordinarily also be entitled to the cost of private treatment to rectify any error made where relevant too, along with associated expenses.

Our Solicitors and helping you

Unlike many other firms who may use unqualified staff to handle such claims, at Lloyd Green, solicitors, you can be assured of expert assistance since your claim will be handled only by one of our 4 specialist personal injury solicitors who can point to and rely upon almost 60 years experience between them in dealing with personal injury and clinical negligence claims.

We act on a no win, no fee basis so you need have no fears on that score either.

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