United Kingdom faces a new challenge due to rising medical claims
In UK, it is a striking news that even one of the world’s most trusted medical scheme, the National Health Services (NHS) now faces a huge financial responsibility due to clinical negligence claims. As Telegraph reports, back in 2012 gigantic £15.7 billion bill is set to settle the medical claims which is certainly surprising. It was also mentioned that 1/3 of that money goes to compensation lawyers with their “no win, no fee” policies that attract more and more people to claim.
This year, figures have risen dramatically adding more or less £10 billion more to compensate for medical claims. It was reported that £26 billion is set aside by UK health service just to cover medical negligence claims against NHS hospitals which is almost 1/4 of the yearly health budget.
How come medical claims are increasing?
Medical errors ranging from surgical mistakes, misdiagnosis, birth injuries, wrong procedures, dental negligence, and other more cases make up the rising negligence claims that seem to be unstoppable. Whether this is a mere commercial activity imposed by insurance companies and solicitors is up for us to judge. Some people also say that claimants sometimes go overboard faking damage and emotions just to make money out of little human errors made by healthcare professionals. Other side of the story is, the healthcare system might truly be failing us. More and more lives of people are getting lost and shattered because of carelessness of the most trusted professionals that are expected to deliver quality care.
Long before time, I can still remember my childhood in a conservative village where medical technology is almost non-existent. I do recall having a so called district hospital that had only 3 wards, an emergency room and a maternal room. Bottom line is, medical negligence claims is something that people don’t know of and yet the community are even thankful of the little things that the healthcare sector can offer. Most of the older generations and even mine if you ask, would have been born at home assisted by anyone capable of delivering a baby that includes a relative, a community midwife, a student nurse, and even the mother herself. Everyone was contented and rather helpful of one another instead of challenging each others medical competency.
Nowadays, medical advances are booming from left and right. You can even opt for a painless birth or maybe water baby delivery. Comparing to what we have back then, we really went a long way today. Yet aside from news and praises around the world applauding the medical advancement we have achieved today, the words “medical negligence claims” also grabs the spotlight from time to time.
Medical negligence simply mean a duty which a health provider failed to deliver. It is but a big disappointment to find more and more people claiming for compensations for medical errors while in fact we should be moving forward to a more safer, competent and reliable medical era.
But does rising medical claims only mean negative factors arising? Not at all. Aside from the fact that unfortunately, there are still incompetent medical workers around, people are also beginning to understand that they themselves need to do something about it especially if they are involved with these cases.
There are 3 Major Reasons Why Medical Negligence Claims are Rising:
1. Growing Knowledge
Patients are becoming more informed about medical matters especially when it comes to their particular situation and the rights of a patient as a whole. Sources of information are widely available to the public. GPs and other healthcare team members provide pamphlets, bulletin boards full of quick reads in waiting rooms, and other efforts to keep patients well informed. Media is also one huge key player in increasing awareness; simple advertisements and clever marketing videos of charities and legal companies informs viewers of their rights as patients in just 5 minutes or less.
2. Willingness to Redress
People are now more and more becoming health conscious. Value to health is one of the priorities nowadays with the peaking of innovations that can both be advantageous or detrimental to the health. We are leaning towards choices of healthy living and appreciating life more now that the modern life seem to grab away our time and attention to look after ourselves.
People are more determined to get things right especially when it comes to health and well-being.
3. Better Access to Justice
More and more legal representatives are working for medical related cases. Gone are those days when the doctor is always right; today, people are more empowered to be informed and to know that there will always be people ready to defend our rights to safe and quality healthcare.
As for me who grew up from a third world country, I wouldn’t completely say that negligence claims are the best way to deal with these things. If I had my way, I would want a stricter system of reviewing such negligence claims and would not welcome silly little claims such as getting stress from a mere little error and such. Hopefully compensation will be awarded only to people who deserves it. Money is not the only reason why people file for lawsuits, people want justice. But just because we are allowed to file for medical claims doesn’t mean we can abuse the system.