With the NHS turning 70 last month, Kim Huggins, Senior Associate within our Clinical Negligence department turns the tables on the view that some people may have regarding solicitors in this field and instead highlights the positives that have arisen out of our National Health Service.
On 5 July 1948, the then Health Secretary Anuerin Bevan launched the NHS – a system whereby hospitals, doctors and nurses, pharmacists, opticians and dentists were brought together to provide a free healthcare service to the public.
It was initially rolled out at Park Hospital (now Trafford General Hospital) in Manchester. It is only natural therefore that the nurses of Trafford General celebrated by wearing the different and evolving uniforms donned over the last seven decades, whilst the Mayor of Greater Manchester unveiled a blue plaque at the hospital to commemorate the birthplace of the NHS.
As clinical negligence solicitors, it can be wrongly assumed that we want to see the demise of the NHS and the workers within it, but that is inaccurate, to say the least. Whilst we, rightly, challenge and investigate the NHS on a daily basis over clinical negligence issues that could have been avoided, we also recognise and celebrate the general level of excellence of the NHS and its staff.
This article opts to deviate from the norm and focuses on a celebration of what we, in the UK, have come to, perhaps at times, take for granted. Whilst there is always room for improvement, the success of the NHS to provide care based on need and for it to be free at the point of delivery should never be overlooked. The NHS is all-encompassing – no one is denied care because they cannot afford it. One’s background, gender, status and race never come into play – we are all one and the same in the eyes of the NHS. From the moment we walk through the doors of our local hospital, we are all treated the same and provided/offered the same services.
The NHS employs around 1.5 million staff in a multitude of roles, all with a desire to make a difference to everyone who requires their care. Each and every staff member is intrinsic in the care provided to all patients and especially those with emergency needs, multiple long-term conditions and/or complex care needs. The mistakes of the few should never overshadow the good level of service and care provided by the many.
Not just a provider of services, the NHS is also a pioneer of new treatments and medical advancements. Within the space of 70 years, the NHS has delivered huge medical advances and improvements to public health, eradicating diseases such as polio and diphtheria, implemented a comprehensive childhood vaccination programme throughout the UK, created the opportunity for longer life expectancy, pioneered new treatments such as organ transplants, mechanical thrombectomy to improve stroke survival and IVF treatment, to name a few.
Nationwide implementation of transparency, continued learning, communication, innovation and resolution will assist in the strength and development of the NHS and give rise to further celebrations in the future….and could even result in a decline in the number of clinical negligence claims legitimately made year on year.
To the NHS, we wish you many happy returns and offer thanks for all of the wonderful things you have done and continue to do and the things you have achieved and continue to strive to achieve.
To those who may have been potentially detrimentally affected by the NHS, we are happy to speak with you or your families to provide suitable guidance and a range of options tailored to your circumstances. For a free initial consultation please contact our Medical Negligence department for more information – call us or email by using the form to the right.
This article was written by Kim Huggins, Senior Associate at Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of August 2018.