The essential purpose of compensation is to, as far as possible, enable the person who has suffered from negligent medical treatment to get back to a ‘normal life’, i.e. the position they were in prior to the negligence occurring. The impacts of negligence are wide-ranging and include job loss, poor physical health, financial troubles, relationship breakdowns and a loss of self-identity and self-worth. Patients who have suffered negligent medical treatment may be able to take legal action against the NHS and claim compensation if it can be shown that the negligence has directly resulted in injury. Patients can take legal action on behalf of themselves or on behalf of their next of kin if that person doesn’t have capacity to pursue action themselves or has died as a result of the negligence.
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) commissioned this research to better understand how financial compensation affects the lives of patients who have been injured as a result of NHS negligence (read press release). In the NHS negligence compensation debate, too often the emphasis is placed on the cost to the NHS and not on the people who have suffered due to negligence. This human-centric research puts the spotlight back onto patients and provides a platform for them to talk about their experiences in an open and honest way. Through a series of qualitative interviews, people were able to tell us about their stories of NHS negligence, their claims journeys and what receiving the compensation has meant for them and their families.
- The consequences of NHS negligence are wide ranging.
- The injury caused by NHS negligence has both direct and indirect costs.
- Compensation helps people to rebuild their lives.
- Private treatment is often a key factor in recovery.
- Compensation can be an effective acknowledgement of what can’t be replaced.
- Where negligence has caused uncertainty about the future, compensation offers reassurance.
- The compensation awarded is ‘not life changing’, it simply helps people get back on track.
- Compensation isn’t about shaming the NHS, but about recognition of wrongdoing.