Legal Action against NHS – advice please

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  • Legal Action against NHS – advice please
  • grantus
    Member

    Wondering if anyone on here has ever taken legal action against a NHS Authority/Board and if so if they could provide advice on the process?

    Without going into too much detail I am of the genuine belief that my NHS Authority was negligent in respect of the level of care provided to a now-deceased family member.

    I have written evidence from various other NHS Authorities and Clinical organisations bodies as to best practice guidelines and standards of care offered to patients in respect of a particular issue which I believe contributed to the aforementioned death. In my family member’s case, our NHS Authority did not follow the guidelines or offer the levels of care as, it seems, is offered in the rest of the country.

    I can’t afford a solicitor and I am not entitled to Legal Aid so, to be honest, I don’t really know what to do.

    Without being arsey, i’m not interested in whether or not legal action is a good idea and I don’t want to divulge any more personal details. I just want to know from anyone who may have gone through the process before and what they had to do i.e. did they need professional legal representation? and what advice would they give, having gone through a legal action themselves?

    Hope someone can offer advice.
    Thanks

    DrP
    Member

    PALS as first step – to lodge your grievance with the trust.
    Then ask THEM how to escalate if you feel necessary.

    have written evidence from various other NHS Authorities and Clinical organisations bodies as to best practice guidelines and standards of care offered to patients in respect of a particular issue which I believe contributed to the aforementioned death.

    Present this to them and await a reply. Why take legal action if a settlement/alternative solution is offered?

    DrP

    grantus
    Member

    Thank you.

    edlong
    Member

    Without going into too much detail I am of the genuine belief that my NHS Authority was negligent in respect of the level of care provided to a now-deceased family member.

    To be fair, you have gone into quite a lot of detail on previous threads. Not a criticism, just an observation.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    Isn’t the problem that the Ombudsman does not investigate every complaint?

    Premier Icon midlifecrashes
    Subscriber

    This is the sort of thing mrsmidlife’s firm does for a living, and their place will do an initial consultation for free, but I suspect you may be in Scotlandshire, and we are not. However, if you did go legal, and the case looks like it has a good chance of success, No-win, No-Fee or conditional fee arrangements could be used (in England/Wales at least) in Clinical Negligence cases where Legal Aid isn’t available.

    In short, ring a solicitor anyway, it may not cost you anything, and without ringing them, you won’t know.

    trail hunter
    Member

    Hi Grantus, I’m in exactly the same situation at the moment. One idea is to phone several solicitors and run the scenario to them, They’ll only be interested in working with you if you have a case. Let them look at it and if they are interested, you probably do have a case. What did they not do? not a scan by any chance?

    the advice I’ve been given so far is to go down the complaint route initially, as others have mention’d.

    grantus
    Member

    I didn’t think anyone would remember the previous threads as they were from some time ago and, at that time, I didn’t know what I know now about the level of care given to patients in the same situation elsewhere in the country.

    Thanks for the pointers everyone.

    trail hunter
    Member

    Wow, we are in almost the same situation, my girlfriend of 22yrs died suddenly in november, 39,not married, 3yr old child, cohabiting, everything in my girlfriends name, total nightmare. Hope your doing ok? the kids keep you strong, well mine is.

    alanl
    Member

    Why do (or do you) you want compensation?
    Or maybe you don’t, but you want to change their procedures so it doesnt happen to anyone else?

    If so, a letter to the head of the Trust/hospital in the first instance. See what they have to say. If not happy, escalate it, and reply saying you are not happy, and would like to meet them to discuss things.
    A face to face meeting may be better than threatening legal action.

    Getting an agreed resolution would be far better that way than being confrontational from the off. I have experience of the legal ongoings of an ambulance trust, and they are open to talk, and would rather settle things amicably than go to Court, but, if they do go to Court, they will engage a good Solicitor/Barrister to protect their interests.
    If it can be shown that they have done wrong, then, generally, they will admit it and take action to correct things.
    Of course there are many other NHS trusts over the Country, so others may have a different procedure.

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    Several pieces of good advice up there, including:

    PALS as first step – to lodge your grievance with the trust.
    Then ask THEM how to escalate if you feel necessary.

    And

    if you did go legal, and the case looks like it has a good chance of success, No-win, No-Fee or conditional fee arrangements could be used (in England/Wales at least) in Clinical Negligence cases where Legal Aid isn’t available.

    Good luck.

    grantway
    Member

    trail hunter – Member
    Hi Grantus, I’m in exactly the same situation at the moment. One idea is to phone several solicitors and run the scenario to them, They’ll only be interested in working with you if you have a case. Let them look at it and if they are interested, you probably do have a case. What did they not do? not a scan by any chance?

    .
    I was going to say the same thing as above
    PALS are crap from my experiences

    jamiep
    Member

    NHS have a duty to investigate and respond to every complaint received. This process is transparent. And there is a process for the complainant to escalate if they are not happy for with the response.
    http://www.nhs.uk/choiceintheNHS/Rightsandpledges/complaints/Pages/NHScomplaints.aspx
    However, this process does not in any way guarantee that any compensation is due for complaints that are upheld.

    project
    Member

    Firstly most home insurance companies give out legal aid as part of the package, or go to a medical negligence solicitor and ask for a no win no fee appraisal.

    Expect the nhs to drag the case out for a few years,as all litigation is dealt with by the nhs litigation authority, and also expect to find out things you didnt know or want to know.

    http://www.nhsla.com/Pages/Home.aspx

    johndoh
    Member

    I have doubts surrounding my dad’s death. I (we – brothers as well) decided not to bother as it will not bring dad back.

    Just my view though.

    FunkyDunc
    Member

    Think carefully what your motives are. If I am honest I am a little concerned that you just mention compensation, and not the fact that you just don’t want such an incident to re occur in the Trust again.

    The hospital need to be made aware that there has been a fook up (in your opinion). They need to investigate it to try and prevent it happening again.

    If you want to seek compensation after, then fine do so, but it won’t bring your loved one back, or make it any easier.

    grantus
    Member

    Thanks all.

    Worth pointing out I didn’t specifically mention compensation but i’m assuming that the NHS Authority wouldn’t admit to any failing, hence discussing legal action.

    I think a face to face meeting would be good. I have already been to Parliament regarding what I thought was a nationwide problem. Seems from the feedback i’ve had it’s not however out of 14 NHS Authorities in Scotland that the Public Petitions Committee of the Scottish Parliament wrote to, only 4 responded so who knows what happens in the other 10.

    Needless to say, our own Authority was not one of the four that responded.

    If they are not prepared to enter into dialogue with the government then it doesn’t bode well for a pleb like me

    grantus
    Member

    Oh, and trail hunter, i’m sorry for your loss. I know exactly how it feels. Not much more I can say but as a cautionary word to anyone else co-habiting – i’d strongly advise to get your relationship formalised, especially if you have children.

    Myself and my partner were together 12 years – lived together 11 and had two kids. Doesn’t count for anything in the eyes of the government (apart from when they assess what child benefit you are entitled to, then you get less because both incomes are taken into account).

    My children will not get a penny in bereavement support even though we have lost one income. I appealed but it was not upheld.

    I was subjected to a 30 minute telephone interview from some woman at the DWP in Dover just after I returned to work. My verbal responses were then sent to me to verify and return. I also send a dozen letters from colleagues, neighbours and members of the school board attesting to the fact they assumed we were both married (which most people thought we were). My verbal responses were sent to a lawyer at the Scottish Office who then sent me back – after approx. 8 weeks – a very detailed response quoting various case law and taking excerpts from my ‘interview’ responses (out of context in my opinion) to tell me I wasn’t entitled to anything and allowing me something ridiculous like 2 weeks to make a second appeal.

    As a matter of information, myself and my partner both worked full-time throughout our relationship and did not claim any benefits ever other than child tax benefit.

    2012 sure was a great year to be British…

    trail hunter
    Member

    With regards to the compensation issue, it is a difficult subject. However, my girlfried died because the trust refused to do a CT scan(Medical opinion/as well as mine)as it was a saturday, and they would need to get someone in who was on call.

    So basically it was more cost effective to wait till Monday, by which time she was dead,so therefore, we need to make it more cost effective for them to carry out the scans immedietly. Unfortunetly the only way to do that is to take legal action and they need to pay out. I’ve lost not only my girlfriend, but my house and my 50k Job,(I work away and at the moment don’t have facilities for child care overnight). As I’m self employed I transfered the house to my girlfriends name to protect us in case of any business problems/issues. As we had no will the house now goes to my child. I’ve looked into contesting this, but it aint cheap, 10k plus. Which I don’t have.

    grantus
    Member

    bloody hell mate that’s awful. The law was changed in Scotland in 2006 to prevent that happening up here i.e. if a property wasn’t in joint names then if, for example, the house was in my partner’s name it would have gone to her parents if we had no children. I understand that can’t happen now.

    I truly feel for you.

    My partner didn’t even get to see an Oncologist before she died. Diagnosed on Thursday, dead on Tuesday tea-time. Oncologist not available until Wednesday as shared between hospitals. (not that it would have made a difference to the outcome, you understand, but it’s not really the point – on the Thursday my partner didn’t look anywhere near close to death and the speed of her decline took everyone by surprise but maybe if her name was Windsor and she’d had a dicky tummy instead of terminal cancer she’d have been prioritised)

    project
    Member

    When i go shopping there is usually somebody giving it beans about some trivial complaint about a product costing a few quid.

    Yet when somebody sadly dies through negligence, failure to follow correct or common sence procedures, or failures due to poor management(lots in the nhs)or lack of funding, then people think they somehow shjouldnt complain, and make a fuss.

    I say to them, IF YOUR COMPLAINT OR APPLICATION FOR COMPENSATION FOR YOUR LOSS,HELPS TO KEEP JUST ONE PERSON ALIVE AND WELL, THEN YOUVE DONE THE RIGHT THING AND VERY WELL DONE,in no way can compenstion bring back your dead or injured family member, but just hopefully it will apply the neccessary pressure to those concerned to do the job theyre paid to do properly.

    Dark Side
    Member

    This is a really sad thread. That people’s lives can be decided on a relatively small budget decision is so wrong. I hope you both gt the resolution you deserve.

    ciderinsport
    Member

    Last year ended a case against a chemist who mis-dosed a controlled drug 3 times in a row, causing some major issues…

    I found a solicitor who took the case on ‘no win, no fee’

    The case was going to win, the chemist had admitted guilt in writing. It took 2 years for me to get very little, the chemist to get a reprimand, and the solicitor to get just over £18k in ‘costs’

    I’m still bitter about that bit…. but the chemists insurers insisted on using solicitors….

    My advice would be, don’t sue, talk to the person (s) concerned, something I think pals could set up?

    Good luck

    trail hunter
    Member

    Yes, suing an NHS Trust is not very appealing. If I had the choice I would just say sack the people who made these decisions(There were a few).The last thing I said to the doctor was that if she was left in the bed with no further care she’ll die. I was told to calm down, stop going on about a scan, stop going on about phoning an ambulance and go home and get some sleep as I was hampering her recovery. She died 20mins later. This guy should not be practicing in any hospital, not even a vets. Maybe sacking him will be an option. If she had the scan even a few hours before she would possibly/probably survived.

    project
    Member

    trail hunter , report him to the GMC, and see what they have to say, either way his name will go on a list of poorly performing drs,of which there are a few, just like people who work in any industry or office,who poorly perform.

    Premier Icon white101
    Subscriber

    My mam died on the 30th of last month, and the care was not great stretching back 4 months. We are waiting for the coroners inquest to find out how she died as the doc could not tell us. It was a weekend.

    The GMC are not held in the highest regard by many of its members so don’t hold out too much hope for a suspension or striking off as I think the stats are fairly low on complaints/suspensions etc.

    There is clearly a lot of pain in this thread and even if we don’t all get the answers we need, in some way I find talking about your loss or grief to people (in this case STW) often helps, a problem shared an all that..

    Going back to a recent thread and mag article on depression (which was really good), I’m finding that being back on my bike in the last week is helping me find some peace after a tough few weeks.

    trail hunter
    Member

    Yes, I’m looking forward to getting back out on the bike too, It has definetly helped me in previous times of trouble, though none as bad as this.

    Physical exersion and concentrating on the trail does wonders for your mental health.

    globalti
    Member

    Nobody has actually said it but the undercurrent running through this thread seems to be that NHS personnel haven’t delivered the expected level of care and compassion.

    My elder sister was allowed to die through neglect (they withdrew feeeding and water) in a filthy ward in Sheffield Hallamshire and in the years since then I’ve come to understand that this is not unusual at all. I come from a medical family and the candid opinion is that when a patient is lingering painfully it’s probably best just to withdraw treatment. If you fancy having a pop at the hospital for something like this you can be very sure they will close ranks against you because it is very widespread. Incidentally my brother-in-law was involved in the decision as well.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    NHS are untouchable and they know it.

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