With new powers from the Coronavirus Act 2020, NHS Resolution (NHSR) has launched a new scheme which will provide additional indemnity cover for clinical negligence liabilities that may arise during the coronavirus crisis.

All staff providing NHS services related to the coronavirus outbreak will be covered under this new scheme where they are not already covered by an existing indemnity arrangement.

The new scheme will complement the existing indemnity and should not provide duplicate cover.  For instance, where the NHS Trust is providing a special healthcare arrangement at a Nightingale Hospital, NHSR will cover clinical negligence liabilities relating to the same. The scheme will also come in useful where health care professionals are having to work in new ways in response to the coronavirus outbreak, for example by using video and telephone consultations.

What is the role of NHS Resolution?

“Our purpose is to provide expertise to the NHS to resolve concerns fairly, share learning for improvement and preserve resources for patient care.”

NHS Resolution

The main function of NHS Resolution is to deal with claims for compensation made against the NHS in England. However, NHSR also deal with concerns raised about practicing doctors, dentists and pharmacists; deal with appeals and disputes arising between primary care contractors, and deal with learning and safety issues across the NHS.

NHSR state:

‘If the treatment you received fell below a minimum standard of competence and you suffered an injury as a result and it is more likely than not that the injury could have been avoided or less severe with proper treatment then you may be able to take legal action for compensation.

If you’re the next of kin of someone who has died because of negligent clinical care or who can’t take legal action themselves because they don’t have capacity, you may be able to take legal action for compensation on their behalf.’

Who should I contact if I think I have a claim against a health care professional?

Claims for compensation following clinical negligence are complex and require expert legal advice. You should seek legal help to guide you through the process and to assess whether or not you have sufficient prospects of making a claim.

In order to make a successful claim, you must be able to show both ‘breach of duty’ and ‘causation’ –

What is breach of duty?

The health care professional must have acted in a way which fell short of acceptable professional standards. This ‘Bolam’ principle tests whether the actions of the health professional in question could be supported by a ‘responsible body of clinical opinion’. The test looks at what ‘should have been done’ – would a ‘responsible body’ of health professionals support the action taken?

What is causation?

It must be shown, on the balance of probabilities, that the harm you suffered is directly linked with the failure of the health professional to meet appropriate standards.

Both breach of duty and causation are complex issues and expert evidence will be required to support both aspects.

It is important to note that the general rule is a person has 3 years in which a claim form must be issued at Court, in order to bring claim for clinical negligence. This period commences from either the date of the negligent mistake, or the date that you could first become aware of it. The 3 year period for children will not begin to run until their 18th birthday.  All cases are subject to time limits and it is extremely important to seek legal advice on this point in order to preserve your ability to bring a claim.

If you need assistance or advice regarding inadequate treatment or care, you can contact Farleys on 0845 287 0939 or by completing our online contact form and one of our experts will be happy to help you.