A&E In Crisis

June 5, 2013
Bolt Burdon Kemp logo

New research carried out by the Kings Fund suggests that more and more patients are having to wait longer than four hours at Accident & Emergency Departments before being seen by clinicians. The statistics show that a total of 313,000 patients waited longer than 4 hours compared with last year’s statistics and this represents a 5.9% increase, apparently the worst recorded performance in 9 years.

In particular, performance in key areas such as infection control and cancer care have been shown to be deteriorating.

Many doctors and managers working within the NHS freely admit that the A&E system is in crisis due to the twin pressures of increased demand on services year on year (set against the closure of many A&E units across the country) and a reduction of government funding and staffing levels notwithstanding the fact that the NHS was supposed to be ringfenced against austerity related cuts.

This is undoubtedly going to lead to an increase in patients receiving negligent medical care, simply because they don’t receive any care at all just at the time when it is most needed and when earlier diagnosis and treatment might have made a substantial difference to a medical condition’s outcome.

This represents a double tragedy. For patients because they have to live with the knowledge that they have suffered an entirely preventable injury – sometimes with lifelong and catastrophic consequences. For the NHS (and by extension the UK taxpayer) because more money will have to be spent compensating the victims of negligent medical care out of state funds.

The government is now proposing that the costs of bringing a claim for compensation arising from negligent medical care should be slashed to limit the taxpayer’s cost exposure. This sort of ‘blue sky thinking’ will only result in limited access to justice for injured patients should it be implemented.

Why not just invest the money that would have been spent on compensating these patients in improving A&E services to make sure that these claims don’t have to be brought in the first place?

Acting only for Claimants, our medical negligence legal team is made up of carefully chosen specialists who can help you make a medical negligence compensation claim.

Share

See all posts