An issue that always seems to be in the news, medical negligence often causes controversy and debate. When you need medical care, you want just that, care. Medical professionals are supposed to be trusted authority figures, but unfortunately, they are only human and can be careless and make mistakes too. And this can have devastating effects on someone’s life, and some mistakes can be fatal. Most care givers, whether they are working in the NHS or in private healthcare, are upstanding individuals whose primary focus is giving you the best care they can. However, there are some who are careless or not up to date with best practice.
Medical Negligence In The News
There are almost always medical negligence stories in the news. One of the most shocking stories this year is the one of the negligence of Rob Jones, who delivered David Cameron’s baby by Caesarean section in 2010. He was suspended in May 2012 after a review by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. They highlighted the fact that Jones failed to stick to guidelines in his obstetrics and gynaecology practice, and that he had at least five reported fistulas (a rare complication where a whole is torn the vagina and the bladder). The review stated that having even one fistula is unusual, and that Jones’ performance also included poor communication and documentation, strange decisions, poor consent technique and the impression of more surgical complications than usual. Over 1,500 women who were cared for by Jones are having their cases reviewed.
Surgical errors can make for a really strong medical negligence claim, as the results of a botched operation can be devastating; they can potentially mean thousands of pounds in compensation. One of the most common forms of medical negligence claims with regards to GPs are claims of misdiagnosis. Whether this is not giving one at all, or giving the wrong diagnosis, misdiagnosis can mean the wrong treatment, making the condition worse.
This aspect of medical negligence can cause a bit of controversy too. Employees that work on the behalf of the NHS that do not perform well enough and neglect their patients cost the service money through the claims that patients put through.
How Is This Problem Solvable?
The Medical Director of the NHS Sir Bruce Keough believes that publishing individual surgeon’s results will force them to focus on their performance. He argues that “it encourages you to consider whether you are operating on the right patients and doing the right operation at the right time”. This way the surgeons will be encouraged to improve their outcomes, and patients will be in the know about their surgeon too.
However, some have criticised this idea of league tables; stating that they are simplistic and may deter surgeons from taking on complex procedures. The Welsh government has said that it may encourage adverse behaviour such as non-reporting.