Lawford Kidd's Blog

Lawford Kidd's injury solicitors' blog designed to cover all areas of the law relating to accident compensation claims, injury claims and no win no fee in Scotland.

Hospitals are safer than ever

NHS Scotland is safer than ever as latest figures show hospital mortality has drastically reduced, claim the Scottish Government.

Across Scotland there has been a 12.4% reduction in deaths – equating to over 8,500 lives saved – since the introduction of the world-leading Scottish Patient Safety Programme in 2008.

Cabinet Secretary for Health Alex Neil visited the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary today to hear how staff are ensuring people receiving care do not experience harm – such as infections, falls, blood clots and pressure sores.

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GMC warns over doctors’ working hours

Some doctors in training are tired and stressed because of their working patterns, which could be putting patients at risk, the General Medical Council (GMC) has warned.

According to research commissioned by the GMC, some doctors may still be working nearly 100 hours a week during their busiest shifts - increasing the potential for mistakes.

The research was aimed at understanding the impact of the Working Time Regulations which are intended to promote health and safety by restricting the hours doctors work.

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Surgical ‘never events’ occur too frequently

After a cautious and rigorous analysis of national malpractice claims, Johns Hopkins patient safety researchers estimate that a surgeon in the United States leaves a foreign object such as a sponge or a towel inside a patient’s body after an operation 39 times a week, performs the wrong procedure on a patient 20 times a week and operates on the wrong body site 20 times a week.

The researchers, reporting online in the journal Surgery, say they estimate that 80,000 of these so-called "never events" occurred in American hospitals between 1990 and 2010 - and believe their estimates are likely on the low side.

The findings - the first of their kind, it is believed - quantify the national rate of "never events," occurrences for which there is universal professional agreement that they should never happen during surgery. Documenting the magnitude of the problem, the researchers say, is an important step in developing better systems to ensure never events live up to their name.

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Parents win medical negligence claim for misdiagnosis

A family from Wrexham have won their medical negligence claim against a health board for a wrong diagnosis that left their daughter suffering severe brain damage, reports the BBC.

Kate Pierce was only nine-months-old when she became ill and her parents took her to Wrexham Maelor Hospital. She was suffering  from pneumococcal meningitis, but a junior doctor at the hospital wrongly diagnosed it as viral tonsillitis, and said she was well enough to go home. The condition was only correctly diagnosed when her parents took her back to hospital after her health continued to deteriorate. Kate is now six, and will need 24-hour care for the rest of her life.

According to the BBC, the health board has accepted 75% responsibility for the claim, and a hearing will be held to decide on the level of damages, which are expected to run into seven figures.

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Update on PiP breast implants

New evidence has emerged which shows that around 7,000 more women in the UK may be victims of the PiP scandal caused by a French breast implant manufacturer, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has announced. These women will be eligible for the same NHS care as announced in January.

French authorities had previously advised that only PiP breast implants that were used after 2001 may have been made with unauthorised silicone gel. Following an investigation by the UK regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the French authorities have now reported that PiP implants made before 2001 may also contain unauthorised silicone gel.

This means an extra 7,000 women, who had PiP implants before 2001, could be affected. About one in five breast implants need replacing within ten years, whatever the make, so it is unlikely that all these 7,000 women still have the same PiP implants.

The independent expert group – led by the NHS Medical Director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh – continues to advise that there is not enough evidence to recommend routine removal of PiP breast implants given that this would mean many women having to have surgery.

However, the government has recommended that if women are concerned they should speak to their surgeon or GP. The NHS will support removal of PIP implants if, after this consultation, the patient still has concerns and with her doctor she decides that it is right to do so. The NHS will replace the implants if the original operation was done by the NHS.

The government expect the private sector to do the same for their patients. It believe that private providers have a duty to take steps to provide appropriate after-care to patients they have treated. If a clinic that implanted PiP implants no longer exists or refuses to care for their patient – where that patient is entitled to NHS services, the NHS will support the removal of PiP implants where clinically necessary.

 

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