Cash injection for medical negligence victims good news but errors must be brought under control
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley is to inject £185 million into the pot that funds compensation pay-outs for victims of medical negligence, as its supply of cash had almost run dry (Daily Mail).
Surging cases and improvements in survival rates for brain damaged babies needing lifelong care have been named as the reasons for the financial woes of the NHS Litigation Authority (NHS LA), the organisation that funds the compensation and legal costs.
Ensuring that injured and vulnerable victims of medical errors are supported and cared for is something that the government simply can't cut corners on, so as a clinical negligence solicitor, it pleasing to see that it has taken action on this issue. Babies who have been left brain damaged because of mistakes that were made at their birth, or when they are a few weeks old, are some of the saddest cases we deal with at JMW, as they have never had a chance at a 'normal' life. The importance of ensuring the special care they require is secured for the rest of their life cannot be overstated.
However, what is worrying is the fact that the number of mistakes with life-changing consequences being made by the NHS appears to be underestimated. It strikes me that no one has a strong handle on what is happening in our hospitals and surgeries, and that the number of incidents of negligence will continue to rise. The government needs to get a grip on this urgently, to save more lives and reduce the number of patients suffering from life changing injuries. More money must be injected into the NHS to ensure that our hospitals are properly resourced so as to keep mistakes to a minimum.