Shouldn’t we put saving lives before saving money?

Clinical Negligence solicitor Richard Kayser, from our London office, continues to be frustrated by government ‘short-termism’ regarding so-called money-saving cutbacks in the NHS…

Day after day I read and hear headlines on the news such as: ‘hospital facing financial ruin’… ‘government considering closing A&E department’… ‘Government considering closing maternity unit’…. ‘consultants asked to take pay cut’… ‘key frontline staff in NHS to be cut’.

Our country offers a rare, free NHS service – something that makes us stand out from other nations. We do not allow our citizens’ wealth to determine whether or not they receive treatment.

When will our government learn that a hospital is not a business? That it is funded by the state and, therefore, closure of a hospital and reduction in front line staff should not be determined on whether the Hospital Trust is making money, but on whether the area needs that service?

Over the past few years I have seen an increase in the level of claims against the NHS, and I have also seen the level of care that patients are receiving reduce! Mistakes are being made because there is a lack of experienced clinicians available to treat those most in need.

At the end of 2012 I was involved in an inquest at Westminster Coroner Court, where evidence revealed that the patient was seen by several different locum doctors, none of whom were familiar with the hospital or its protocol. No consultant was actually at the hospital, and the correct treatment was only started when the child was eventually seen by one 18 hours after her arrival. Which was too late…

Rather than cutting back, our Government should be encouraging hospitals to improve. Yes this may incur expense in the short term, but in the long term:

  • patients will receive better care
  • we will see a better service, run more efficiently
  • deaths will be avoided
  • we will see fewer mistakes and therefore fewer clinical claims against the NHS.

Asking whether this would save money is surely irrelevant.

The question should be ‘will it mean fewer mistakes and more lives saved?’

 

Current Controversies, Medical Negligence,
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