Serious harm caused by clinical negligence

Posted By: on 2nd May 2018 | Category: Clinical Negligence

A new body, The Health Service Safety Investigation Body, has been set up by the Government to investigate events where serious harm has been caused since 1 April 2017.

The body currently employs 30 staff and currently it chooses which events to investigate. They have investigated 35 cases in their first year in office out of 100 cases referred to them.

Anyone can refer cases to this body and referrals can be anonymous.

According to The Care Quality Commission, on average 6% of NHS patients are harmed each year. This is a substantial figure given the number of patients receiving treatment from the NHS.

The Care Quality Commission has assessed only 34% of hospitals as safe, 62% in need of improvement and 3% as inadequate.

Currently safety is the biggest concern for The Care Quality Commission.

This is highlighted by the number of claims brought to the attention of the body that insures and deals with the claims against the NHS, namely NHS Resolution (formerly NHS Litigation Authority).

In 2016/2017 10,500 new clinical negligence claims were reported to NHS Resolution. There were 117,000 complaints raised under the NHS complaints process during this period and 1.9 million incidents reported.

In 2018, 400 new cases of cerebral palsy were reported to NHS Resolution for them to deal with.

The NHS is encouraged to be more transparent and are now required to provide early notification of all obstetrics brain injury claims.

According to the organisation, National Voices, patients consistently say that what they are interested in are the following:

    1. An apology;
    2. Redress where appropriate;
    3. Improvement in services.

At a seminar (Next Steps for Improving Patients Safety in the NHS) which was attended by The Right Honourable Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, a number of bodies were represented and it was suggested that steps and measures were being put in place to ensure transparency and to promote patient safety in the NHS by way of learning from errors and mistakes. It is hoped that lessons will be learned and that the number of claims and serious incidents reported will decline in the future.

If you or anyone you know is affected by any issues referred to in this article, please contact Parisa Costigan, Solicitor and Partner at Coole Bevis LLP on 01403 224608 or by email


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