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.