Five Key Concerns Over New NHS Birth Injuries Compensation Proposals
It is high time Whitehall cut through NHS attempts to defend indefensible medical errors in maternity wards across the UK.
All very laudable. But there are five key factors about the government proposals that worry us …
1. Cynical Cost Cutting – Depriving Parents Of Their Rightful Compensation
The most obvious concern is potential abuse by both the NHS trusts and the government itself – parents could be fobbed off with inadequate fast-track compensation offers.
Some families could jump at a fast £500,000 first offer…little realising that the compensation required to care for a child severely brain damaged at birth runs into millions.
2. NHS Resistance To Change
There is already a duty of candour within the NHS but will any clinician whose actions have resulted in the death or serious injury of a newborn child – and a multi-million pound compensation bill – admit to error and be prepared to face blame?
Our concern is that denials will continue and cases will drag on.
3. Birth Injury Compensation Claims Take Time For A Good Reason
Brain injuries and their symptoms can be subtle as well as severe. It may take months and years for the effects to become fully evident. Particularly in the case of children as they develop.
Often it is not until the child has reached their early teens that the full effects of their birth injuries become fully evident, such that a medical expert can produce a report detailing a final opinion and prognosis.
This report is crucial in determining a fair compensation settlement.
So claims should not be settled too early. Or parents may miss out on the full compensation they deserve. In the meantime they will need to care for their injured child and obtain rehabilitation treatment.
A solution already exists in the form of Interim Payments. Early initial payments ensure the child gets the correct treatment and care while the full impact of their long-term injuries is determined but that occurs only when liability is admitted.
Coles Miller’s brain injury solicitors are experts at securing interim payments. This is one of many factors that sets our specialist team apart from the average high street personal injury lawyer.
4. Birth Injuries To Mothers – And The Impact On Fathers
Remember too, it is not only babies that can die or be severely injured at birth. We also see many compensation claims for birth injuries to mothers.
Mothers and fathers can also suffer psychological damage following medical negligence by the maternity clinicians.
So any new compensation scheme must make proper provision for injuries to parents.
5. Private Hospitals Can Be Negligent As Well
So far we have spoken about the NHS. But it is worth remembering that the private sector is not without its failures.
Parents pay for private maternity care because they seek a better alternative to the NHS.
That does not mean private hospitals are infallible. We have the case files to prove it.
For more information about seeking redress for injuries caused at birth, contact the head of Coles Miller’s Clinical Negligence Department, David Simpson, 01202 355695.