David Simpson - Partner, Coles Miller

'Thousands' Killed By NHS Negligence29th Sep 2014

by David Simpson on 29th Sep 2014

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We see many shocking news stories and statistics about the NHS. Often on what feels like a weekly basis. Sometimes daily.David Simpson - Partner, Coles Miller

But one very stark number stands out among all the others: Care Quality Commission chair David Prior’s warning that NHS negligence kills up to 10,000 patients every year.

Or – more worrying still – that the number may be 12,000 per year, according to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

At a headline level it makes dreadful reading – 10,000 people per year equates to 27 victims per day. At least one every hour.

Our clinical negligence solicitors are all too aware of many cases involving misdiagnosed symptoms, delayed diagnoses and other medical errors.

Those details make horrific reading. The tragedy of it all, the waste of human life. All the ‘if only’ scenarios. The deaths and life-changing head and brain injuries that could have been avoided.

Mr Prior is adamant. He warns that “any assessment of the NHS can have only one possible conclusion: standards of care are highly variable, sometimes dangerously so.

“Many patients receive poor care,” he says. Not some. Not a few. Many.

NHS England has rejected Mr Prior’s claims. Chief nursing officer Jane Cummings says millions of people treated each year “receive great care from staff who are pulling out all the stops.”

The British Medical Association backs her stance, saying the vast majority of people “receive world-class care.”

However, we note a BMA comment on September 17, saying that the healthcare service in Wales was facing “imminent meltdown” amid concerns over the performance of the ambulance service there.

If failures can happen in one part of the UK they can just as easily occur elsewhere. NHS negligence that kills and seriously injures patients is not simply a postcode lottery.

We have seen examples of it all over the UK. Some hospitals are more prone to it than others.

But to suggest that it ‘can’t happen here’ at your local hospital would be complacency. It would be wrong – because we know it can.

If it happens to a member of your family, you will need specialist legal help to claim compensation.

For expert legal advice on pursuing a no win, no fee claim against the NHS or any other healthcare provider, contact Coles Miller’s Clinical Negligence Partner David Simpson, 01202 673011.