NHS waiting times have long been a sensitive subject. There are rarely any positive reports about them in the news and it seems that the time patients spend waiting for treatment is increasing again. Things had appeared to be improving for a while but in the last nine months there has been a steady decline, the effects of which are that more than 12,000 routine operations were cancelled, an increase of 3,000 on the previous year.
Obviously it is sometimes necessary for a routine operation to be moved to make way for an emergency or more urgent treatment required by another patient, however there are increasing reports of hospitals having to cancel even urgent operations in some cases because of pressure for beds.
As people live longer and the population grows the demand on the NHS increases and some believe that it is at breaking point. With staff morale low and financial problems being a normal state of affairs for most NHS Trusts, there does not seem to be an end in sight.
The chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said:
“The NHS is struggling and stretched far too thinly. A&E departments are where the pressures are most visible… a lack of investment, poor workforce planning and fragmented services have affected patients across the whole NHS.”
This has led to an increase in “bed blocking”, which is where beds are occupied in hospitals by patients who are well enough to leave but cannot due to delays in receiving prescriptions, transport problems or lack of support at home, particularly with elderly patients.
When there is this type of pressure to free up beds there can also be, sometimes inevitably, mistakes made when patients are discharged. Where these mistakes are considered to be negligent then those patients may have a claim for clinical negligence.
At Ringrose Law we have an experienced legal team who are able to advise you if you think you or a member of your family was negligently discharged from hospital. Please contact us at one of our offices in Boston, Lincoln, Grantham, Sleaford, Newark or Spalding, or alternatively you can call 01522 561020 and speak to a member of our team.