Patients' lawyers ask NHS Resolution; "What are you telling parents of babies harmed at birth?"

Patients lawyers ask NHS Resolution; "What are you telling parents of babies harmed at birth?"
NHS Early Notification Scheme

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), a professional body of specialist lawyers who act for people harmed as a result of negligence, has called for NHS Resolution to tell them what they are advising parents of babies who have been brain-injured by failings in maternity care about their right to seek independent legal advice.

APIL requested a meeting with NHS Resolution after a survey of their members revealed concerns that the NHS’s intervention in situations where a baby has been injured at birth under the Early Notification Scheme (ENS) appears to be discouraging parents from seeking independent advice about their brain-damaged child’s right to representation by their own lawyer and their right to claim compensation.

When giving their experience of enquiries from parents following early intervention, the APIL accredited clinical negligence lawyers who are recognised experts in this highly specialised area of  law voiced concerns at the absence of enquiries from any parents who had been through ENS. This suggests that either parents are not being alerted to the fact that their child’s serious condition may have arisen from mistakes in their care, or that parents of the most severely injured babies (with compensatable lifelong needs) are not being signposted by NHS Resolution to claimant specialist lawyers for proper advice.

NHS Resolution has its own in-house legal team and also uses medical defence lawyers to defend the NHS against medical negligence compensation claims. Where a patient or their family has received intervention from NHS Resolution’s lawyers, it is unclear whether they are fully aware that the NHS defence team which has contacted them acts for the NHS and that it is their job to defend or reduce the value of any potential claim.

NHS Resolution’s own lawyers represent the NHS, and as lawyers for the defence, they cannot legally, ethically or professionally give the patient’s family legal advice about the viability, strength or value of their compensation claim. Nor can they legally settle any claim with the parents directly on behalf of the injured child without that child having independent legal advice and the approval of the court.

It is essential that families with a birth-injured child are promptly directed to seek their own legal advice from specialist lawyers who are experienced in cerebral palsy and neurological injury claims. We know this from our own experience because at Boyes Turner, we frequently secure full compensation for families in cases where NHS Resolution previously denied that any NHS negligence caused the injury to their child. 

Boyes Turner support APIL’s call for NHS Resolution to disclose openly and in detail the information and advice that they are giving parents of brain-injured babies following errors in maternity care.

If you have been contacted by NHS Resolution following maternity mistakes which you believe may have caused serious injury to your child, we would like to hear more about your experience. You can speak to our friendly and experienced cerebral palsy lawyers by contacting us now by email at cerebralpalsy@boyesturner.com.

I try to assist lawyers by explaining, in clear and comprehensible terms, what the relevant issues are and where the strengths and weaknesses of the case lie.

DR PETER DEAR

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