NHS in Disaster – Delays in emergency remedy – The place does this depart affected person security? | Medical Negligence and Private Damage Weblog | Kingsley Napley

As scientific negligence specialists, we assist those that have sadly been injured on account of issues with the usual of medical remedy that they’ve obtained. It’s with concern that we observe the difficulties which are persevering with to unfold inside our Nationwide Well being Service this winter. 

Sufferers are being harmed by delays in emergency remedy and response occasions

The Affiliation of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) reported that ambulance handover occasions had virtually doubled from December 2021 to December 2022 and that sufferers ready a couple of, two and three hours had reached unprecedented ranges. AACE managing director Martin Flaherty mentioned it was estimated that round 57,000 sufferers skilled potential hurt on account of lengthy handover delays in December 2022, with round 6,000 of those experiencing extreme hurt. These are stunning statistics.

By way of hospital emergency departments, newest efficiency figures printed by NHS England for January present that many sufferers confronted a wait in extra of 12 hours for a call on whether or not they need to be admitted. Following a call to confess, 42,000 sufferers waited greater than 12 hours to then be admitted.

Sufferers are dying

Adrian Boyle, President of the School of Emergency Drugs, informed Occasions radio in January it’s estimated that ‘between 300 and 500 individuals are dying as a consequence of delays and issues with emergency care every week’.

Lately, a number of Coroners have written to authorities ministers highlighting a systemic disaster in delays in accessing emergency remedy and calling for enhancements.

Senior Coroner for Gwent, Caroline Saunders, following the dying of Dorothy Jones, expressed issues that regardless of repeated assurances that motion could be taken on ambulance delays, there had in her opinion been no ‘considerable enchancment’. Dorothy Jones had seen her GP, who thought-about she required speedy admission to hospital, and requested an ambulance to attend inside two to 3 hours. Nonetheless, it took greater than 9 hours for the ambulance to reach, by which era she had died.

A report from the Chief Coroner for Norfolk made clear that the issue is wider and extra sophisticated than simply delays in ambulance response occasions. It acknowledged that King’s Lynn Hospital was ‘unable to discharge sufferers who’re medically match to be discharged they usually stay occupying a lot wanted beds.

This in flip means sufferers can’t be moved from the emergency division into the hospital wards and sufferers stay ready in ambulances. This in flip causes delays in ambulances being returned to regular obligation.’

Fixed danger to affected person security

Broader issues throughout the NHS have been put within the highlight by The Home of Commons Public Accounts Committee whose chair, Meg Hillier, has acknowledged that ‘employees shortages and the dire situation of the NHS property pose a continuing danger to affected person security’. The committee has raised issues that the federal government is ‘delaying essential interventions’ and says main points at a nationwide stage should be addressed, together with vital workforce shortages.

From all of this it will seem that there’s some solution to go earlier than the state of affairs is absolutely resolved.

Authorized claims

Most frequently, claims for scientific negligence centre round allegations towards particular person medical practitioners for failings in care. Nonetheless, claims may be introduced towards hospital trusts or different our bodies for systemic failings, equivalent to these mentioned on this article.

There’s a basic query to think about on this regard as as to if people, who could be overworked, ought to be recognized as being negligent or whether or not the main target of claims ought to be on systemic failings.

Rob Heywood, Professor of Medical Legislation and former Deputy Head of the UEA Legislation Faculty argues that by specializing in particular person failures, “Useful alternatives to establish any broader underlying elements which can have brought on affected person hurt, and to study from any wider institutional failings, are thus misplaced.”

At Kingsley Napley, we’re specialists in bringing negligence circumstances for emergency remedy issues together with claims for systemic failures. We work with consultants in emergency medication, paramedics and different specialisms to evaluate, for instance, whether or not a name for an ambulance was categorised appropriately, whether or not a affected person was appropriately triaged in A&E and whether or not the appropriate remedy was given.

In case you are frightened that you just, or somebody you care about, may have prevented damage with well timed admission to hospital then please name us on 020 7814 1200.


When you’ve got any questions or feedback in regards to the subjects mentioned on this weblog, please contact  or any member of the .


 is a Senior Affiliate within the Medical Negligence and Private Damage Group. She represents people who’ve sustained catastrophic accidents. Eurydice has helped purchasers with traumatic accidents, together with spinal twine damage, amputation, orthopaedic accidents, gastrointestinal accidents and lack of imaginative and prescient.


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