A Times columnist has made the proposal that injured patients should be willing to accept apologies instead of damages and that the NHS should simply be forgiven for mistakes.
Addressing the Times’ readers, this reply from the President of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) was published at the end of February: –
There is no expectation on the NHS to be infallible. Accidents happen. Mistakes happen. They cannot be avoided.
But only last week it was reported that hundreds of men have had the wrong testicle removed. These are not mistakes. This is negligence. Those men face a lifetime of sterility because someone failed to take enough care to identify the correct body part.
Perhaps an injured patient or grieving family would accept an apology if apologies were ever forthcoming. It is already established that parents enduring the agony of a stillbirth which is entirely avoidable are often forced down the legal route in search of answers, because they cannot get them any other way.
If what Ms Foges says is correct, there is a profound need for the NHS to overhaul its approach and attitude towards patient care. The motivation for investigating stomach pain should be to improve the patient’s health and wellbeing in keeping with the NHS’s mission statement. To avoid being sued is the wrong incentive.
Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL)’
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