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The role of the new patient care champion and what we hope this will achieve for hospital patients.
Robert Francis has been appointed as the new President of the Patients Association, becoming a champion for patient care, in the wake of the Stafford Hospital scandal. In the Clinical Negligence Team we see the impact on patients of poor care in hospitals on a daily basis. The appointment of Robert Francis should help to see dignity restored to patients and a reduction in avoidable harm.
As a solicitor in the Clinical Negligence Team I speak to people every day who have either suffered poor care in hospital or watched one of their loved ones suffer unnecessarily. The phrase I hear most often is “I don’t want anyone else to go through what I did.”
We had hoped that in the wake of the Stafford Hospital scandal we would see the end of patients being ignored, doctors forgetting to make an urgent referral or lack of dignity in patient care. There have been changes but there is still plenty of room for improvement.
The BBC recently reported that Robert Francis, who led the Inquiry into the Stafford Hospital scandal, has been appointed as the new president of the Patients Association. This should help to see patients’ interests properly represented. Mr Francis will be able to use his experience investigating Stafford Hospital to apply pressure to improve the areas that need it most and which have the most impact on patients’ experiences and outcomes.
That there are still improvements to be made is illustrated by the case studies published by the Patients Association at the same time as announcing Mr Francis’ appointment. These studies showed the poor experiences patients have had in hospitals across England and Wales and, sadly, the cases are all too familiar to the team here.
Mr Francis’ work with the Stafford investigation has led to government changes such as a new law of wilful neglect, where doctors and nurses could face jail for neglecting patients, and also the requirements for hospitals to publish details of staffing levels regularly.
We often see patients whose treatment has been delayed, or even missed entirely, causing a negative impact on their outcome. I also hear people tell me time and again that they were ignored because of a lack of staff to monitor their condition. Hopefully the new rules will start to put an end to this.
We are experts in identifying what has gone wrong with your care or the care of your loved one and can help to provide much needed compensation to offset some of the difficulties that poor hospital care has caused.
As well as achieving compensation for our clients, we have seen procedures change as a result of claims and our cases have been used as learning tools by hospitals so that the same mistakes aren’t made again. We all hope that incidents like those highlighted will soon be a thing of the past thanks to the great work of organisations like the Patients Association. Until then, the Clinical Negligence Team is here to help you or your loved ones regain some of the dignity taken away by poor hospital care. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your experiences and whether you should make a claim against a hospital.