Medical Negligence at Royal Berkshire Hospital

Medical Negligence at Royal Berkshire Hospital

We are all fortunate to have a national health service that is free at the point of use, with care and treatment provided without reference to our ability to pay. The NHS is cherished by us all and in the vast majority of cases, delivers good quality care. Indeed, for those living in and around Reading, the patients of  the Royal Berkshire Hospital benefit from a hospital that was rated by the Care and Quality Commission as delivering either “good” or “outstanding” services.

However, even hospitals like the Royal Berkshire Hospital, are prone to errors, as highlighted in 2019 when a patient was given "medical air" instead of oxygen, during their time at the hospital. "Medical care" is used to drive ventilators and other surgical equipment. However, on one particular occasion, a patient was given the wrong supply of air, in error. Fortunately, this mistake did not harm the patient, but highlights that any environment can be subject to mistakes, errors, faults or negligence, which could lead to serious harm to the patient.

Advice on making a Royal Berkshire Hospital Medical Negligence Claim

If you have suffered harm due to an error, a mistake, a fault in a piece of hospital equipment, or due to negligence on the part of the hospital, you may be entitled to substantial compensation for the harm caused to you and for financial losses and expenses arising out of that harm.

For advice on whether you might have a claim for compensation for Royal Berkshire Hospital medical negligence, call 0333 123 9099, email enquiries@ibbclaims.co.uk or use the enquiry form to request a call back.

What do I have to prove to win medical negligence compensation?

In order to recover compensation for medical negligence the patient must be able to prove a number of things.

First, they have to prove that they were owed a duty of care by those treating them. It is not the case that every situation in life gives rise to a duty of care to another person although in a hospital setting, the individuals working in a hospital, whether the doctor, nurse or other health professional, all owe a duty of care to each and every patient.

Second, having established that the patient is owed a duty of care, the patient then has to prove that they have suffered from negligent treatment.

As to whether treatment is negligent or not, is determined by reference to a standard measured by independent experts acting in the same capacity as the person the patient says caused them harm.   The test is the standard of the ordinary skilled woman or man exercising a particular skill. They do not have to have the highest possible skill. It is sufficient that they exercise the ordinary skill of an ordinary competent person in that particular profession, whether it be nurse, doctor or other health discipline. Most importantly, a doctor, nurse, surgeon, therapist, consultant, registrar or any other health professional is not negligent if they have acted in accordance with a practice accepted as being proper by a body of medical practitioners. Therefore, importantly, a mistake does not necessarily mean that the individual or Royal Berkshire Hospital (as an organisation) has been negligent.

Thirdly, the third hurdle is often the most difficult one to overcome. Even if the patient can prove a breach of duty of care and the Royal Berkshire Hospital has been negligent, they also have to prove that the negligent treatment caused the harm.

On occasions, even if there have been no negligent treatment, errors or mistakes, the outcome for the patient may have been the same. If the outcome would have been the same then despite there being negligence, it will not be possible to recover compensation for the harm.

Therefore, to succeed in recovering compensation for medical negligence against a hospital, it is necessary to show that the negligence caused harm over and above what would have been the case, if the treatment or care had been carried out correctly.

How much of compensation will I get for Royal Berkshire Hospital medical negligence?

The amount of compensation a patient may receive will depend upon the precise circumstances of a patient's experience. There is not a list or table or tariff of awards depending upon the type of injury sustained; each and every award of financial compensation is determined by the precise experiences of the patient (of the harm suffered) and of the financial losses (e.g. loss of earnings) and expenses (e.g. private cost of care or private health treatment) that have been incurred.

When should I make a claim for Royal Berkshire Hospital medical negligence?

A claim for hospital medical negligence should be made as soon as the patient becomes aware of the error or mistake. Although, in law, the patient has three years from the date of the error or mistake to make a claim, it is sensible to make a medical negligence compensation claim as soon as possible.

There are two reasons. The two key pieces of evidence are going to be medical records and the recollection of the patient and other witnesses. Although more hospital records are computerised and thus the risk of going astray reduces, that risk remains and if records are lost then the chances of a successful claim may ebb away.  Secondly, with the passage of time memories fade and thus an individual's recollection of the treatment or care, and others that may have been present at the time of treatment, will fade. The fading of memories may diminish the quality of their evidence and thus prevent a successful claim from being made.

Therefore, it is important that a hospital medical negligence claim is made as soon as the error or mistake becomes known to the patient.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) report-Royal Berkshire Hospital.

In January 2018 the CQC reported that their rating of services at the Royal Berkshire Hospital had improved. They were rated as outstanding because the safe, effective and well led domains were “good”, and caring and responsive domains were “outstanding”. 

How good are we?

We are accredited by the Law Society for Personal Injury Law reflecting our expertise in this area. IBB Claims’ partner Malcolm Underhill has particular expertise with all types of brain injuries, being accredited as a Brain Injury Specialist by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

Our team is recognised by Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500, the two leading client guides to the legal profession, for our exceptional skill in handling clinical negligence claims.

Legal 500 judges IBB as having a “good” clinical negligence department and “puts the client’s interests at the forefront of every decision.” Simon Pimlott has “a real eye for detail and works incredibly hard to get the best result for each client.”

Chambers describes Malcolm as being a highly experienced personal injury practitioner with a strong focus on cases that involve brain injury. A client notes: "He is a very personable, sympathetic professional that has helped us as a family….."

What will it cost to bring a medical negligence claim?

Legal aid used to be available to bring a medical negligence compensation claim and therefore patients did not have to worry about legal costs. However, legal aid was removed by the government some years ago and therefore, except in a small minority of cases, government legal aid is no longer available to make a hospital negligence claim.

However, unfortunately, there is the "no-win, no fee" agreement. This means a claim for hospital negligence compensation can be made without a patient having to worry about paying legal costs when they start their claim. The way in which a "no-win, no fee" agreement works is that we do not charge for our time in pursuing a medical negligence claim if the claim is unsuccessful. Therefore, the patient does not have to worry about paying money to start a compensation claim. Only if the claim is successful will the patient pay some legal costs. However, even then, they will not have to pay all the legal costs, but only a percentage, related to part of the compensation that the individual recovers from the hospital.

Do you handle my type of medical negligence claim?

We have acted for many clients, over many years, handling a variety of medical negligence claims against hospitals and therefore are very likely to have the expertise and experience to help you make a claim for compensation. We set out below a list of examples of our expertise although we have dealt with many claims outside of this list.

Where is IBB claims and IBB solicitors?

We are based in Reading and thus conveniently located to meet, to discuss how we can help you make a Royal Berkshire Hospital medical negligence claim.

Contact us for Advice on making a Royal Berkshire Hospital Medical Negligence Claim

If you have suffered harm due to an error, a mistake, a fault in a piece of hospital equipment, or due to negligence on the part of the hospital, you may be entitled to substantial compensation for the harm caused to you and for financial losses and expenses arising out of that harm.

For advice on whether you might have a claim for compensation for Royal Berkshire Hospital medical negligence, call 0333 123 9099, email enquiries@ibbclaims.co.uk or use the enquiry form to request a call back.