Medical Mistake Claims - Simpson Millar LLP

Doctors and Nurses Walk Past Dying Patients and Hospital Bosses Are Accused of "Shamelessly Milking the NHS"

Author: Neil Fearn  Bullet  Dated: 17/09/2015

Outrageous salaries and champagne life styles Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt secretly plans to stop claims by families of elderly patients and infant children killed by hospital blunders.

MP's were told recently that Doctors and Nurses were walking past dying patients because they did not know how to help them or did not realise they were dying.

Professor Irene Higginson, a Specialist in Palliative Care at King's College, made the claim to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee.

Patients dying in agony

Health service experts gave MPs a withering account of end-of-term care in Britain after a report earlier this year revealed that many patients were dying in agony, without dignity and alone. The Ombudsmans report in May warned that hundreds of thousands of patients and their families were being failed by staff. Among the distressing accounts was a 55 year old woman who died in agony because the batteries in a pain relief device had not been replaced.

NHS is like a train about to crash

Leading health economists yesterday warned that the NHS was "like a train just before a crash". Analysts from the King’s Fund, Nuffield Trust and Health Foundation said that the NHS was under severe pressure, with hospital overspending this year likely to hit £2billion. Anita Charlesworth, Chief Economist at the Health Foundation, said "The NHS is massively overspending… and yet everything is carrying on. It is that moment before the train crashes, where actually everything is sort of oddly calm, but in the end you can’t overspend by that amount and it not have consequences". She said that there appeared to be a "massive gulf" between "the reality for hospitals up and down the country" and discussions at the top of the system about priorities such as 7 day services, "not actually articulating a plan for how on earth we get through the next 18 months".

Ice in hospital water scrapped to save cash

It was reported yesterday that one hospital is denying patients ice in their water to try and save £40,000 a year. It was revealed that Addenbrookes in Cambridge has stopped putting ice in jugs. The cutbacks emerged after a visitor requested ice for a woman with cancer who found it easier to swallow her tablets if the water was cold. Michelle Lewis was "horrified" to be told the ice had been removed "because of budget cuts".

Hospital bosses enjoying champagne parties, exotic holidays and shopping trips to Harrods as their hard up hospitals battle to make ends meet

Earlier this year hospital bosses were accused of "shamelessly milking the NHS" by taking £35million in pay rises during the worst funding crisis in a generation. The Mail reported that some Executives earned more than £1million a year and even at hospitals with the worst standards of care Directors enjoyed pay packages worth up to £5,000 per day. The figures were revealed after the Daily Mail carried out the most comprehensive audit ever of Trust Accounts and the exploitation of the NHS pension scheme by Senior Executives. The Mail laid bare the staggering ways in which bosses were milking the NHS for £210 million per year despite its worsening financial crisis. This included:

  • Nearly 1,000 NHS bosses earning £100,000 or more per year when their pension contributions are taken into account
  • Despite the funding crisis, the number of bosses with pay packages worth more than the Prime Minister rose by 30% last year to nearly 600
  • Nearly 50 hospital bosses pocketed more than £400,000 last year
  • Some sat on the very committees that handed them huge pay rises
  • Others were being rewarded for abject failure with new jobs in the NHS and getting bumper pay days after silencing whistle blowers
  • Chief Nurses were taking home up to £700,000 per year – whilst their £26,000 per year staff faced cuts and frozen pay
  • One temporary Executive was paid £25,000 for 2 months work but spent much of this time in a villa in Spain and a spa resort in California

Details of the huge pay packages – all funded by Tax Payers, are buried in financial reports but emerged after The Mail examined the accounts of all 160 NHS Hospital Trusts.

The average Chief Executive in England now takes home £185,255.00 in salary alone, far higher than the Prime Minister’s £142,500.00 pay. The Mail reported how hospital bosses enjoyed champagne parties, exotic holidays and shopping trips to Harrods as their hard up hospitals battled to make ends meet. In August The Mail reported how while Bart’s Health NHS Trust ran up the biggest debt in NHS history, its Chief Financial Officer Mark Ogden saw his pay package top £280,000 for the year. He left the role in January, shortly before the Trust declared an £80 million deficit which is expected to increase to £135 million in the next 12 months. Mr Ogden joined the troubled hospital in July 2012 and earned £545,000 in pay on top of £92,657 to cover rent, in 2½ years. Hospital accounts revealed some Executives, already earning an annual income of more than £250,000, are looking forward to a £1 million pension pot when they retire.

As hospital bosses are accused of "shamelessly milking the NHS" by taking £35million in pay rises during the worst funding crisis in a generation and with the number of patients being injured and killed by hospital blunders set to rocket as the ailing NHS crumbles Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt secretly plans to stop claims by families of elderly patients and infant children killed by hospital negligence.

Mr Hunt recently blamed the official responsible for investigating complaints about NHS failures of "faceless bureaucracy" and insensitive treatment of bereaved relatives of victims. Hunt’s intervention was prompted by the allegedly hostile manner in which the Ombudsman had treated James Titcombe whose baby, Joshua, had died after NHS staff failed to treat him for an infection, as revealed by the Morecombe Bay NHS Trust Baby Scandal. In a letter to Dame Julie Mellor, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, seen by the Sunday Times, Hunt wrote "As a grieving father who had been vindicated by an independent investigation, he (Titcombe) should be shown every compassion and sensitivity. I am very concerned that he will have felt this to have been lacking". Hunt added "When sometimes things go wrong, we need a humane complaint system which provides redress and does not feel like a faceless bureaucracy". This is astonishing hypocrisy on the part of Hunt who is now secretly planning to stop parents of infant children killed by hospital blunders making claims on the NHS under the pretence of introducing a scheme to cap lawyer's fees!

A Leading Medical Negligence Lawyer, at Simpson Millar says "Mr Hunt knows that when a hospital Trust refuses to accept responsibility for the part it has played in the death of an elderly patient or infant child the families only recourse is to take the hospital to Court in order to obtain Justice. Mr Hunt also knows that such claims have a low monetary value, often less than £25,000, but that is of course no reflection of the importance of the case to the families involved who are not motivated by compensation but by a search for answers and an acceptance of responsibility from the Doctors involved for the part that they played in the death when appropriate and to ensure that this does not happen to anyone else. Under the pretence of capping lawyer's fees Mr Hunt plans to introduce a scheme which will cap the costs recoverable if a family takes a hospital to Court and wins their case to a percentage of the damages awarded. Many hospitals will adopt a "siege mentality" of fighting cases at any cost often defending even the most indefensible claims. If a family wins a case at a contested Trial the costs can easily be upwards of £250,000. That’s not the families fault if a hospital decides to unreasonably fight the case by denying liability. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that if families of elderly patients and infant children killed by hospital blunders win a case at Trial and are awarded damages of less than £25,000 costs capped at a percentage of those damages would barely cover Court and experts fees.

He explains "A recent survey by Legal Marketing Agency RTS Media endorsed by patient charity Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) has found that should a cap on legal fees be introduced 83% of specialist medical negligence lawyers are likely to opt against representing families with claims worth less than £25,000 in damages. This effectively means the majority of claims involving death of elderly patients and infant children. It’s quite astonishing that Mr Hunt believes he can pull the wool over the public's eyes by introducing a scheme deliberately designed to stop families of elderly relatives and infant children killed by negligent Doctors from making claims under the pretence that it is to cap lawyer's fees! The public will see straight through this and it cannot possibly be what the public wants in the wake of the Mid Staffordshire Hospital scandal. Mr Hunt should be looking more closely at hospital bosses who are accused of shamelessly milking the NHS in huge salaries and NHS Trusts and their lawyers who fight even the most indefensible claims running up huge costs in the process. Mr Hunt should not be attacking families left bereaved and grieving by hospital negligence."

If you would like to read more about Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt's plans to stop claims by families of those killed by negligent hospital staff you can do so here: HOSPITAL BLUNDERS "Likely to Rocket" as Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt Moves to Stop Claims by Families of Elderly Relatives and Infant Children Killed by Negligent Doctors

Get In Touch or Call us on 0800 195 8467