Why are the Media accusing Lawyers of being “greedy”, “grasping” and “cracking open the bubbly”?

Some of you may have opened your Sunday papers and online newsfeeds to claims that Lawyers acting for the Victims of NHS Clinical Negligence are costing the NHS millions of pounds; money which the Media claims could better be utilised to employ 19,000 nurses.

Why such a vitriolic headline?

There is no “cause and effect” between NHS funds budgeted for clinical negligence and the NHS budget for nurses.

Victims of clinical negligence should have access to justice and legal representation, to assist and guide them through difficult; challenging and often life-changing injuries and outcomes.  In an ideal world, clinical mistakes would not happen and doubtless all victims of clinical mistakes and their families wish that the errors had never occurred.

Our clinical negligence lawyers regularly see repeated trends of similar mistakes and errors and missed opportunities for valuable lessons to be learned.  Regularly the Hospital Trust concerned will undertake an investigation and produce an Investigation Report recommending a change of clinical practice or procedure, but regularly none of the recommendations made are implemented, resulting in further cases.

The NHS has resources to robustly defend genuine catastrophic cases and cases resulting in fatalities, cases that the affected victims and their families cannot easily negotiate on their own.  The NHS denying liability causes additional distress to those affected and serves only to increase costs to the taxpayer.

The figures quoted by the Media for damages paid did not include ‘periodic payments’, made monthly or annually to ensure patients have the ongoing care and financial help that they desperately need.   The figures quoted in the Media do not separate out fees paid for expert reports, counsel fees and other disbursements needed to prove a case.

The timing of the latest Media attack on lawyers representing innocent victims, coincides with the original deadline for a consultation to look into the possibility of fixed fees for claimant lawyers. Legal practitioners are still waiting for this consultation to commence, where it is hoped that those acting claimants can put forward historical case data and trend analysis as to the many reasons why clinical negligence disputes are not being resolved to achieve the best outcome for the victim and the NHS.

We at Ringrose Law continue in our fight for justice for those affected by clinical negligence.

If you or someone you know has been involved in Clinical Negligence resulting in life-changing injuries.  Contact a member of our Clinical Negligence Department, we have offices in Lincoln, Boston, Spalding, Sleaford, Grantham and Newark.

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