This week in clinical negligence: 16.02.2018

Here are the main headlines that we’ve seen in the clinical negligence department this week. If you’ve been the victim of clinical negligence, or know someone who has, call 08000 93 93 92.

NHS computers could be the cause up to 900 deaths a year

Two academics have claimed that the poor quality of the NHS’ computer equipment could be the cause for up to 900 deaths in the service each year. The computers are said to be ‘unnecessarily buggy’ and highly susceptible to ‘cyber-attack’.

This again shows the need for increased investment in the NHS in order to bring their equipment in line with current standards, practices, and threats, especially as more records and data are held electronically. The amount of negligence and deaths that this could be held accountable highlights the human cost that the cuts are having within the service.

Government consultation on clinical negligence fixed-fee practice

A consultation on fixed costs in clinical negligence cases took place this week, and the Government’s response to the consultation on fixed costs has been released.

LJ Jackson recommended that the Civil Justice Council and the Department of Health should set up a working party (to include both claimant and defendant representatives), to develop a bespoke process for clinical negligence claims up to (initially) £25,000.

The working party will also work to create a structure and figures for fixed recoverable costs for such cases to as well as costs for expert reports. This will be done with regard for patient safety (via an impact assessment including healthcare reporting), as well as with an eye on making expert reporting more streamlined.

The report with recommendations is set to be published in September 2018.

Fundamental dishonesty in MoJ negligence case

A recent case outlined the need for claimants to be honest throughout the clinical negligence claim procedure, as an act of fundamental dishonesty caused for the claim to be barred.

In Razumas v Ministry of Justice [2018] EWHC 215 (QB), Razumas had claimed against the Ministry of Justice because “for various periods in between 2010 and 2013 he was in custody and during that time the medical care he received was, it is common ground, deficient in various respects. The highly unfortunate result of the negligence has been that he has had to have his left leg amputated above the knee.”

However, he was found to be fundamentally dishonest, as he alleged to have sought treatment when this was found to not be the case. Meaning that the court had to dismiss the claim, with the judge stating that there would not be a substantial injustice in doing so and confirmed “if there were a claim it would fail at this stage.”

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