NHS Trusts should be duty-bound to tell patients when their tragedy has been investigated
Partner and clinical negligence specialist Linda Levison urges NHS Trusts to remedy a bizarre state of affairs…
NHS Trusts are under no obligation to tell patients of the existence of an Investigation Report into how they or their loved ones were injured. It is far from the transparency we would want and surely deserve from our healthcare providers.
Further to my colleague Richard’s comments on NHS childbirth cuts, I read with shock and sorrow a report in the newspapers today about how a baby died because of failure by senior obstetric staff at Kingston Hospital to appreciate the high risk nature of delivering twins. A damning report criticised failures by the hospital leading to the death.
It is a very strange anomaly that while NHS Trusts will often prepare Investigation Reports into such tragedies, there is no corresponding duty on the Trust to tell patients that a report exists about what happened to them.
So you can have an extraordinary situation where an Investigation Report has been prepared but the person most affected might not even know of its existence until he or she seeks legal advice. I have several cases involving the most serious injuries (children with brain damage, cerebral palsy and so on) where this has happened.
I believe that NHS Trusts should have a specific duty to provide patients with a copy of any Investigation Report into the disastrous outcome they have experienced.