How do you rate our NHS? It’s a tricky one isn’t it? I know people who have had some fantastic experiences in NHS hospitals – myself included. On the flip side, I also know several people who have not had such a great time at the hands of the NHS – again, I can include myself in this number.
Overall, I really don’t like to knock the NHS. In most of my
21, ok almost 30 years, I have received great care – fast appointments, correct and effective treatment, and caring and professional staff. I know we all moan about the cost of prescriptions, but really I think that most of us tend to forget what a huge amount of money the NHS puts into giving us FREE healthcare.
If you have read my children’s birth stories you will know how grateful we are for the wonderful NHS special care baby units. Without their care and support, my children might not be here today. But not everything was so rosy for me on the maternity and antenatal side. Due to understaffing, poor communication and pure lack of experience, the birth of Gemma was traumatic, terrifying and left me with post traumatic stress disorder. I won’t go into details, but let me just say that it was far from perfect.
That’s why I can’t say I was surprised to see a survey recently that showed that medical negligence claims have risen by 80% in the last 6 years. Now, I am by no means a fan of the recent ‘compensation culture’ but I do believe that claims should be encouraged where there is a genuine case to be answered. With more than half of the people surveyed in this study also saying they would seek private care if they could afford to, are we losing faith in the NHS? With the expected medical negligence pay out hitting £22.7 billion pounds as a this year, I fear that might well be the case.
I recently came across an article that states the NHS spends £700 of negligence cover for every birth in the UK – this figure seems a disproportionately high amount – in fact almost a fifth of all spending in the maternity area. With a well reported shortage of midwives and consultants on maternity wards, could this figure be set to rise even higher? I really hope not.
Overall, I think the NHS rocks – without the input of SCBU and the very experienced and caring nurses and consultants, we could be living a very different life today. But there are flaws, there is room for improvement. Instead of cutting money to the NHS, the government should be ploughing more cash in – to training, recruiting and maintaining the very heart of healthcare.
I would love to know what you think – would you, or have you, ever claimed against the NHS? Have you had a good experience you would like to share?
* This post is written in association with First 4 Lawyers *