As a result of the present World Pandemic Covid-19, the majority of health organisations in England, including NHS England, hospital trusts and GP and dental practices have briefly paused their complaints procedure so that they can put all their attention and resources into patient care. Due to this momentary suspension of clinical negligence complaints, it will disturb both current and new complaints.
While the complaints process is on pause, patients who wish to come forward with a complaint, can still do so and this will be recorded with an acknowledgement note. Nevertheless, no scrutiny will take place until the end of their pause period.
NHS guidance states that new complaints should still be considered and evaluated by the organisations to govern whether they comprise issues of patient safety, practitioner performance or safeguarding so that prompt action can be taken where essential.
Furthermore, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman are not currently taking new health service complaints nor continuing existing ones where that would request contact with the NHS.
You can log your complaint using the link below:
Limitation for clinical negligence
If you want to bring forward a clinical negligence claim it is imperative to do so in the time limit that the law allows you to do so. That is why it’s important to acknowledge that the law permits the Claimant three years from the date of the negligence for personal injury and clinical negligence claims in England and Wales. This is known as ‘limitation’. This means that a claim should be made i.e. settled or Court proceedings should be raised within three years of the negligence or date of realisation of the negligence, or the claim will be outdated.
These time limits are not deferred while a complaint is ongoing and they continue to run notwithstanding the Covid-19 crisis. Be careful that you do not harm your potential claim by delaying for a long-drawn-out complaint process to be undertaken. Relatedly, do not postpone taking legal advice due to the pandemic.
Occasionally a patient will be unaware that a blunder in their treatment was made until after some time, in this situation, limitation runs from the ‘date of knowledge’. This means the three years limit starts from the date the patient first became aware the medical negligence.
There are exceptions to the limitation rule.
- For children and minors, the three-year limitation starts from their 18th birthday.
- If you are bringing a complaint forward on behalf of the deceased loved one then limitation runs from the date of death providing limitation period had not ended during their life time. However, in certain circumstances it may run from their executor or dependants’ date of knowledge if this is later.
Thus, it is imperative to speak to a solicitor about your possible claim as soon as you can to evade running the risk that your claim will be “out of time” leaving you powerless to claim compensation.
Impact on Existing Claims
The COVID 19 pandemic has unavoidably had an influence on healthcare resources and on the schedules in which medical experts and defendants can respond to developments in individual’s cases.
The courts remain fully operative with hearings and trials being led remotely using video conferencing technology. The schedules set by the court for steps to be taken in individual claims are in some instances more drawn out to allow for the bearing of the pandemic, but it remains the circumstance that the majority of clinical negligence claims are resolved without the need for a trial and JMR Solicitors continue to pursue settlement opportunities.
Contact a Specialist Clinical Negligence Solicitor
JMR Solicitors are experience clinical negligence solicitors having handled a wide range of cases from this area of law. We have particular expertise in complex claims including brain injuries, spinal injuries, cerebral palsy, fatal claims, and other life changing injuries.
If you require legal guidance and advice on a clinical negligence matter, contact JMR Solicitors Clinical Negligence team on 0161 491 3933 or email email@example.com