NHS Trusts are leaving themselves wide open to claims for negligence due to missing targets for cancer, A&E and planned operations.
The warning has come from Yasmin Ameer, a medical negligence specialist at Nockolds Solicitors in Bishop’s Stortford, following research carried out by the BBC which found that NHS Trusts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have not hit one of their three targets for 18 months. Only Scotland has had any success in the last 12 months – hitting its A&E target three times.
Ameer’s local Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, which covers the Herts & Essex Hospital in Bishop’s Stortford, St Margaret’s Hospital in Epping and the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, has the worst performing Accident and Emergency Department in the UK. She said that growing demand had left the NHS struggling to keep up and that patients were suffering as a result.
While the Princess Alexandra NHS Trust has hit its targets for cancer care and planned operations & care, its Accident & Emergency Departments are treating just 70.3% of patients within four hours, well below the target figure of 95%.
“A lot of illnesses are time critical and delays in treatment can have a have serious consequences,“ she said.
“If there is a delay in treatment, particularly in the case of accidents and emergencies, NHS Trusts are leaving themselves wide open to claims for negligence.
“A number of conditions can worsen within hours and reach a stage where treatment is either ineffective or impossible.”
Ameer added that latest figures showed that nationally there were 2,445 clinical negligence claims for failed or delayed treatment in 2015-2016, with £557 million awarded in compensation – enough money to train 16,000 nurses.
“Of that, £424 million was claimed by patients whose diagnoses were delayed,” she said.