On 5 July 2018 the NHS turns 70, celebrating having provided acute care to over three generations.

Like any institution, or even its patients, it has evolved over the years into its current condition. Although there may be some wear and tear showing, the overwhelmingly fantastic work carried out all over the country, every day, represents what can usually be expected. Despite the current budget constraints, in 2017 the NHS was ranked highly against healthcare systems worldwide, a testament to the levels of dedication from staff.

For the vast majority of patients, when the worst happens to them in their lives the NHS will provide a world class service. There are, however, a number of cracks starting to show as a result of budgetary issues, both within the NHS and due to cutbacks in social services leading to bed shortages or ‘post code lottery’ treatment. With an ever-aging population, many of whom will never have known a life without the NHS, there can be causes for concern ranging from delays in undergoing vital treatment, to staff simply being overworked and signicant mistakes happening.

Although the NHS may usually provide a quality service, for some patients the level of care they receive will fall below the standard that can be expected. Whilst, almost without exception, the staff involved will never have intended to provide unreasonable care, it is important that patients can seek assistance should mistakes happen. A distracted driver who accidentally hits you may not have intended you any harm, but if you suffer a severe injury and cannot work, their apologies will not make right the impact the injury has on your health, family and finances.

As the NHS turns 70, it is important we celebrate the service provided, but in its maturity, and like any responsible adult, it is also important that the NHS holds itself to account when mistakes happen. Only by raising concerns about poor treatment, or considering legal action when the consequences of negligent treatment have had life changing consequences, can the system and staff learn from mistakes and improve to ensure that we continue to receive an ever-improving service for the next 70 years.

At Anthony Collins Solicitors we fully acknowledge that for most of the time, the NHS provides an excellent free service for people who are most in need. We hold that acknowledgement in tandem with our acting for clients or their families who have suffered when things don’t go to plan whilst under NHS care, advancing negligence claims in a balanced manner. We hope that our work aids in the improvement and shaping of NHS services for patients, ultimately reducing negligence claims as a whole.

For more information

If you require any further information or wish to speak to any of our team regarding this article or any aspect of our work, please contact Christopher Frankling.

Contract management pitfalls – payment
Contract management pitfalls – payment

In the second part of our series on contract management pitfalls, we look at the risks and opportunities presented by payment mechanisms in construction contracts.