Most hospitals at some point find that they are involved in a clinical negligence claim as there are more and more claims these days involving doctors and other medical staff. Despite the increase in the number of medical negligence claims being brought against hospital trusts, many people working in the healthcare industry as still unsure about what being involved with this type of claim involves and the implications that it can have. These days, there are now courses which can be taken specifically within the field of medical negligence to gain further knowledge on the subject.
What Does Negligence Mean In Law?
In law, for a hospital to be negligent a patient must prove that they have experienced a breach of their rights to a duty of care and that the standard of care that they received was below that which could reasonably be expected from any body of responsible medical practitioners. Patients must also prove that on the balance of probability that the failings in the standards of care were the direct cause or a material contribution to the outcome for the patient or their injury.
When a medical negligence claim is made against a doctor within an NHS hospital setting, they are automatically covered by NHS indemnity and therefore the NHS itself is being sued rather than the individually named practitioner. This, in turn, means that should any out of court settlement of court award be made in resect of a compensation payment, it is the NHS that is responsible for payment and not the practitioner themselves. This is different to claims made against a private practitioner or GP as they would be personally sued.
Doctors’ Involvement In Medical Negligence Cases
The main doctor who was treating the patient will be involved in a medical negligence case by being asked to review the patient’s records to provide a statement which comments on their involvement and treating. After this point, independent expert witness evidence is obtained to discuss the standard of care which the patient received. This is another role which doctors often undertake, outlining what could reasonably have been expected and whether or not the treatment received matches up to the required standards. You can also view medical negligence claim statistics here http://www.medicalnegligenceassist.co.uk/
The majority of medical negligence claims never go to court but are instead settled out of court. This means that doctors rarely go to court to give their evidence, although it does occasionally happen. It is therefore wise for doctors to be aware of the law and what is likely to be expected of them in advance.
Although the majority of claims will be resolved without the doctor experiencing any further implications, in some cases there will be other investigations carried out, and this is one of the reasons why understanding the law surrounding medical negligence claims is very important for all medical professionals so that they can best protect themselves from any future impact.
Studying Medical Negligence Law
Medical staff who are keen to know more about medical negligence and its implications can take several different courses which specialise in this subject. There are several courses available which cover different aspects of the law and which cater for different needs.
Advanced Clinical Negligence Medico-Legal Course – this course for qualified doctors focuses on the role of the expert witness during clinical negligence cases and covers all elements of preparing the relevant reports to support a claim. The course contains workshop sessions regarding the ins and outs of the law as well as discussions about current codes of practice.
Refresher Course – Consent In Healthcare – This is a refresher course for medical professionals to recap over the course of one day the importance of patient consent and the best practices to avoid becoming the subject of a medical negligence claim.
Understanding Clinical Negligence – a one day course for anyone working in the healthcare industry to learn more about medical negligence law.
Clinical Errors and Medical Negligence online module – aimed at those specifically working in psychiatry, this module covers the kinds of procedures which are most likely to give rise to a medical negligence claim.
The Medical Protection Society, which is the leading provider of expert advice and professional indemnity services health professionals worldwide, offers a number of courses which help healthcare workers and doctors to understand the complex issues around medical negligence and how to implement safer practice during their handling of patients.
The AVMA run one day courses for either new or experienced medical expert witnesses who are involved with medical negligence claims to understand what is required of them and the best practices involved in writing the reports for the case. AVMA can also help with NHS cases.
Fast Healthcare offer an online e-learning course to help anyone working in a healthcare environment to find out more about the basics of UK medical negligence law and their own rights and obligations with regard to patient care to avoid a claim being brought against their organisation.
In the UK, university hospitals are NHS Boards and Trusts which have major interests in research and teaching. Almost one quarter of England’s acute Trusts are members of the AUKUH (the Association of UK University Hospitals) as well as one of Northern Ireland’s 6 trusts and two of Wales’ local health boards.
University hospitals take a major involvement in the development and research of treatments and also receive significant external funding. They have a large academic presence within their wards and they also commit to both postgraduate and undergraduate teaching of those who are pursuing a degree in related health and medicine disciplines. With close links to educational institutions and universities, some of the university staff will act as non-executive board directors for the hospital.
How Do University Hospitals Help Clinical Expertise?
University hospitals deliver specialised services that map onto clinical expertise and academic interests and can therefore do more to help their patients while providing leadership within the NHS since they have greater knowledge, skills and capacity in specific areas. With the responsibility and ability to apply and create scientific breakthroughs, university hospitals have a key role to play in health research and also lead the way in educating NHS staff at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Unusual and serious cases are more likely to be referred to a university hospital since they have the ability to provide the expertise and specialist equipment necessary to supply the highest possible care standards to patients suffering from complex or rare conditions.
Which Are The Best University Hospitals In The UK?
Although the UK’s university hospitals offer cutting edge treatment and facilities for patients, there are several which really stand out from the crowd due to the excellent level of training and service that they provide. Here are some of the best.
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
This trust is one of the best in the UK. Once known as Addenbrooke’s NHS Trust, it was given its new name in 2004 and supplies healthcare facilities for patients around the Cambridge area. Some of the specialist services include treatments for rare forms of cancers, neurological intensive care and transplant services to a wider area within the south east of England. Addenbrooke’s Hospital is the largest hospital in this trust, with the others being the Saffron Walden Community Hospital and the Rosie Hospital. It is part of the Shelford Group and is a research campus with international renown which has expanded massively over the last two decades. This hospital carries out enormous amounts of research into a variety of health conditions, with more than 1000 studies under way at any one time.
University Hospitals Birmingham
Providing adult district general hospital services to the South Birmingham area and more specialised treatments across the entire West Midlands, this hospital trust operates the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and is home to one of the Genomics Medicines Centres which are trusted with creating precision drugs based on gene therapy. As one of the largest providers of specialist services in England, this trust has a very busy accident and emergency department and is a regional centre for the treatment of burns and trauma patients. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital has the biggest critical care unit in Europe with over 100 beds.
University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
This trust is based in London and comprises several teaching hospitals including the University College Hospital, the UCH Macmillan Cancer Centre and the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine among others. This large trust treats more than 500,000 outpatients every year and admits more than 100,000 patients yearly. UCLH also runs major research into treatments and conditions, with training offered to doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals in partnership with 4 London medical schools. The Trust’s University College Hospital runs a large critical care unit and provides urology and thoracic surgery specialisms while the UCH Macmillan Cancer centre specialises in oncology treatments.
There is also the Hospital for Tropical Diseases and the Dental hospital as well as the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital, all four of which have very clear specialisms. The Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine specialises in alternative medicine treatments and has its own education department for those who are registered health professionals within the complementary medicine sector.
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
This well renowned teaching hospital trust is composed of four large hospitals, the Churchill Hospital, the Horton General, the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre and the John Radcliffe Hospital as well as community hospitals in smaller communities around Oxford and the wider Oxfordshire area. As home to a Genomics Medicines Centre, this university hospital trust has an instrumental role in creating precision drugs to treat a range of conditions, and is also one of the largest providers of specialised services in England.
The NHS is one of the biggest employers in the UK, and there are more than 300 different jobs available for those who are seeking a career with this enormous and prestigious organisation. While there are many roles across a broad spectrum of sectors, not only medicine, there are some jobs which are more in demand among the UK’s NHS Trusts. These include the following job roles:
There is an enormous demand for nurses in all areas of the NHS, from accident and emergency departments to those who work in operating theatres. At the present time, many of the nurses who work in UK hospitals come from overseas, and many are bank nurses who are filling in on a temporary basis. The demand for qualified nurses at all levels outstrips supply significantly in most areas of the country, with especially large numbers of vacancies for specialist operating theatre and neonatal nurses. A nurse’s basic salary begins at around £22,000, however for those at the most senior level, it is possible to command a salary of up to £100,000.
The sonography and radiology career pathways are still short of applicants across the UK, and yet have a vital role to play in the care and treatment of patients with a range of conditions. By using X ray and ultrasound technology as well as other forms of imaging, specialists in this field may help to diagnose conditions and to carry out interventions. Salaries start at around £22,000 and can progress up the scale to as much as £69,000 for those who reach consultant level.
While not the most glamorous job in the NHS, prosthetists and orthotists play a key role in helping patients to regain their mobility. By providing artificial limb replacements for those who have gone through amputation or who were born without a limb, prosthetists have a very specific and valuable role to play in the hospital, ensuring that the prosthesis is designed specifically for the needs of each individual patient. Orthotists also have an important part to play in correctly deformity, relieving discomfort and aiding movement, helping those who have had a stroke, spinal conditions, cerebral palsy and arthritis. Using CAD, CAM and modern digital imaging techniques, this is a fascinating and essential career path.
Paramedics play one of the most essential roles within the entire NHS by providing immediate response emergency services. As the first senior health care professional to arrive on the scene, paramedics must take responsibility for offering first aid treatment for minor injuries and illnesses as well as delivering life saving treatment. With a payscale starting at £22,000 and progressing up to a maximum of £69,000 at consultant level, this demanding role is highly rewarding, and is highly in demand all across the UK. Although the work can be both physically demanding and emotionally challenging, there are courses and counselling systems in place to help paramedics to cope with the difficulties that they may encounter.
Emergency Medicine Doctors
Although doctors at all levels and in all disciplines are still highly in demand in most areas of the NHS, emergency medicine is a shortage area where many trusts are still looking for qualified and experienced staff. Although the medicine career path is not a quick or easy one, it is extremely rewarding, both financially and emotionally, especially for those who choose to specialise in emergency treatment who are literally at the cutting edge of life saving treatments. Working in an accident and emergency department may be challenging, however it is certainly and interested and varied pathway to take, with a great deal of variety to look forward to every day of the week. Doctors’ salaries begin at around £26,000, but when specialising in a particular field such as A&E care, the basic salary is £36,461. When at the top of the career ladder, a consultant in this field can earn as much as £103,500 a year. As an emergency doctor, there is an on call system which allows for an additional pay enhancement for working out of hours. Pursuing a career in emergency medicine involves quite long and complex training with a degree in medicine being required followed by a 2 year general training foundation programme and then specialist training in the chosen discipline, however once fully qualified and in post, it is an extremely rewarding career path.
There is plenty of information available online with regard to careers in UK hospitals, and there are many roles which are suited to candidates at all level of their career within the British healthcare system, whether just starting out or whether already highly experienced in the field. The NHS as a whole is an excellent employer and offers a wealth of opportunities.
When patients need to go to hospital, they want to be certain that they are going to be well cared for and looked after during their illness. The UK has some of the best facilities and most highly qualified doctors in the world, however some have really come out on top. Some of the best performing hospitals in the country are also among the oldest, and many specialise in particular disciplines that make them really stand out from the crowd.
The hospitals which have found their way onto this top ten list have all been ranked by a number of different categories and have taken into account all of the different elements involved in rating a hospital. These elements include the efficiency of the nurses, doctors and other healthcare staff, the safety aspects, the food options, the quality control, patient care and mortality rate, it is possible to work out which are the best performing hospitals in the UK ranked from 10 to 1.
Cambridge University Hospital, NHS Foundation Trust Cambridge
At number 10 on the list is the Cambridge University Hospital. Once known as Addenbrooke’s NGS, this professionally managed hospital believes firmly in transparency and offers outstanding care to patients across all departments. One of the top aspects of this hospital’s performance has to be the short waiting times that patients experience, as the patients here have some of the lowest countrywide.
Institute of Cancer Research Royal Hospital London
Cancer is still a frightening disease, but at the Institute of Cancer Research Royal Hospital, London, the staff are working hard to find new and innovative treatments for all kinds of cancers and tumours. One of the top specialists in cancer treatment in the UK, this facility offers outstanding care.
Freeman Hospital, Newcastle
Famous for its high quality joint and hip replacement operations, this hospital in the North East of England specialises in the fitting of hearing aids and in providing the highest level of treatment for heart disease, kidney problems and pancreatic issues. This hospital also has an excellent oncology department. The Freeman hospital is also one of the UK’s most famous transplant institutes with an excellent reputation for having the smallest number of organ rejections nationwide.
Birmingham Children’s Hospital
Having a sick child is always a worrying time, but parents can trust in the level of care provided for their youngsters at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital. With some of the country’s top paediatric doctors on staff, this hospital is solely for children and all of the food is ideally suited to the patient’s need.
Royal Berkshire NHS
The Royal Berkshire has the accolade of being among the cleanest UK hospitals, and scores higher than the country’s national averages in all parameters. Placing emphasis on offering their patients’ the best facilities, this hospital takes especial pride in their care of dementia patients and with over 800 beds. This is also one of the biggest UK hospitals as well as one of the oldest having been operational since the 1830s.
Bedford Trust Hospital
Located in Bedford, this hospital has been around since the 1890s and has 400 beds. This hospital prides itself in offering the region’s best A&E care and also in offering top quality psychiatric treatment.
BMI Healthcare Institute
This independent healthcare provider has around 60 hospitals nationwide, all of which boast high standards. The group was established in 1970 and scores highly on patient care as well as on their low patient mortality rates.
One of the UK’s largest charitable hospitals, Nuffield Health finds a high-ranking place in all categories from food quality and mortality to patient care and cleanliness. Operating 31 private hospitals across Wales, Scotland and England, this organisation also has wellbeing gyms and fitness facilities nationwide.
Royal Marsden Hospital
Offering some of the highest quality cancer care in the country, the Royal Marsden is a specialist oncology hospital located in London. As the world’s first hospital dedicated to the treatment of study of the disease, the Royal Marsden was established in the 1850s and is one of the country’s oldest.
St Thomas Hospital
Another London hospital, St Thomas Hospital is the number one hospital in the UK. As part of the Guy’s and St Thomas NHS Foundation, this hospital also hosts the King’s College London School of Medicine and has been established since the 1870s.
All of these hospitals have very high ratings among patients, and they are a shining example of the UK’s excellent healthcare facilities. With the impressive level of care that they offer and the high level of specialism in several disciplines, it is easy to see how the UK’s healthcare system is ranked as one of the best in the entire world.