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NHS Resolution, which was formerly NHS Litigation Authority, has published research on the motivation of patients making a compensation claim when something has gone wrong with their healthcare.

The research, which was conducted in partnership with The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), surveyed 728 patients who had made a claim and looked at the incident that had occurred, how the patient felt it had been handled, how any subsequent complaint had been handled and the factors that led to the patient making a claim for compensation.  BIT also did an in-depth telephone interview with 20 past claimants.

The findings show that, in general, the research participants were not satisfied with the reactions of NHS staff following an incident or how their complaint was handled within the NHS.

It found that:

  • 63% of patients who responded felt that they did not receive an explanation for why the incident occurred.
  • Only 31% said they felt they had received an apology.
  • 71% of the people responding did not think that their healthcare provided undertook any actions to investigate the incident in the first instance.
  • Only 6% of respondents felt that actions were taken that would prevent the same incident happening again.
  • The majority rated the response to their complaint as ‘poor or very poor’ in terms of accuracy, empathy, speed of the response and level of detail.

 

It also found that both internal and external factors motivated patients to make a claim.  Personal motivations included:

  • Wanting to prevent similar things happening to others.
  • Wanting to receive an apology or an explanation for the incident, or to trigger a detailed investigation of the incident.
  • Wanting the clinicians involved to be held to account.
  • Emotional responses (e.g. frustration and anger) brought about by poor incident or complaint handling.
  • Financial compensation.

External motivations included:

  • Suggestions from NHS staff that making a claim would be appropriate
  • Advertising
  • Conversations with friends, family and wider social network

 

Helen Vernon, who is Chief Executive at NHS Resolution, said “This research confirms that claims for compensation can sometimes be made in the search of answers, which could have been provided when the incident occurred. Being open with patients when they suffer avoidable harm and taking tangible steps to learn from what happened are essential. We would like to thank the patients who spared the time to contribute to this valuable research, which will help us to build on our work with the NHS to improve the response when things go wrong.”

 

Full details of the research conducted can be found on the NHS Resolution website.

Results of breast cancer screening

The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has apologised for an IT error which resulted in 450,000 women failing to receive letters inviting them to routine breast cancer screenings.

All women registered with a GP and aged between 50 and 70 should be automatically invited for breast cancer screening every 3 years.  They should receive their final invitation for screening between the ages of 68 and 71.

A ‘technical glitch’ dating back to 2009 was responsible for over 450,000 women aged between 68 and 71 failing to receive invitation for screening letters.

Jeremy Hunt has admitted that, based on statistical estimates of the rates of cancer caught in women screened, around 270 lives have been shortened as a result. He has confirmed that there are many women who may have potentially had their cancer caught at an earlier stage had they had the screening. Jeremy Hunt said that “Tragically there are likely to be some people in this group who would be alive today had this failure not happened”.

The government has today ordered an independent inquiry and confirmed that women affected will be contacted, with some likely to be owed compensation.  An apology will be provided.

All those under 75 will automatically be sent an invitation to a catch-up screening. For women aged 72 and over, a helpline to decide if a screening is appropriate will be available.

Sadly, families now face the possibility that their loved one may have missed the opportunity for earlier diagnosis and a better outcome.

 

Delays in Diagnosing Bone Cancer.

Thirty-four year old David Kinnie featured on BBC Midlands Today on 21 March 2017.  He has asked for his story to be told.

 

David Kinnie suffered with a painful right hip from around 2008.  It was initially put down to his weight, but did not improve despite very significant weight loss.  He was then diagnosed with a hip impingement and offered physiotherapy, which did not help.  David was then listed for surgery which was initially unsuccessful.  He was re-listed, but the surgery did not go ahead on several occasions spanning many months.

 

An obvious lump began to develop which was initially monitored by David’s GP.  The lump got larger and blood results were concerning.  David was referred to Accident and Emergency in October 2016.  Scans shortly after admission detected metastatic deposits in his lungs and finally confirmed a primary tumour of the hip.  David was told that the hospital would investigate his treatment as it was likely that the cancer should have been detected and treated sooner.

 

David instructed Brindley Twist Tafft and James to carry out an independent investigation into his care.

 

Please contact Richard Stanford on 024 7653 1532 or email Richard.Stanford@bttj.com for further information.

 

Richard is a solicitor at Brindley Twist Tafft & James, a firm of solicitors in Coventry that specialises in medical negligence cases nationwide. Richard has experience of a very wide range of Clinical Negligence cases including Orthopaedic, Oncological, Urological, Infection, injury during surgery and the management of long term conditions such as diabetes and Crohn’s Disease.