Rapid Resolution Scheme for birth injury cases to be introduced
We specialise in birth injury cases on a no win, no fee basis. Contact our free legal helpline for a case assessment on 0800 037 8020 or send us an email.
The imminent arrival of a new born baby is an exciting and joyful time for most families. However, the overwhelming exhilaration of a new addition to the family can for some become overshadowed by the traumatic news of a birth injury occurring.
It is widely acknowledged that medical staff do an amazing job in our maternity units up and down the country, but there are occasions when things go wrong that could have been avoided if greater care had been taken. The ensuing battle by parents for answers (and in many cases much needed compensation to fund the additional needs of a child who has suffered a birth injury) can be a long, drawn out and daunting process.
Families of children injured at birth do not necessarily seek to ‘blame’ those who they believe were at fault during the birthing process, but are simply looking to establish what went wrong, why it went wrong and what the future holds for their child and the family as a whole. Understandably they often feel doubly let down by the system; first in relation to the quality of the medical treatment itself and subsequently in relation to the process of investigating what occurred. This has led to mounting criticism and calls for a faster, more streamlined process for dealing with birth injury claims.
A new Rapid Resolution and Redress Scheme is therefore now being considered by the government to investigate cases where there has been avoidable harm to babies during birth. The scheme is aimed at offering a speedier resolution of disputes which avoids the need for protracted and expensive litigation. They do however insist that the scheme will not take away the parents’ ultimate right to pursue birth injury claims through the courts for redress and compensation.
In addition to the new Rapid Resolution and Redress scheme the government has announced a number of additional measures with a view to improving the nation’s maternity care. This includes steps to improve training, a system of maternity ratings and a national quality improvement programme. One of the aims is to halve stillbirths and neonatal deaths by 2030.
It is often said that lawyers who deal with medical negligence compensation are all too quick to take matters down the legal route when birth injuries occur. The truth is somewhat different. Lawyers do not take a case on ‘just because they can’, they take cases on to ensure the right questions are asked on behalf of their clients and that adequate compensation packages are awarded to help families move forward without the worry of financial hardship while bringing up a child with additional needs. Lawyers therefore perform a vital role, not only in giving victims access to justice but also by focusing the spotlight on areas of the health service that require improvement. Valuable lessons can be learned along the way, resulting in improvements to services that prevent more innocent people suffering.
The conduct of the health providers themselves also needs to be considered. They often cause unnecessary distress to patients by defending cases instead of acknowledging errors at an early stage. This causes legal costs to needlessly rise and encourages some people to pursue legal claims where an early apology may have been sufficient recompense.
We therefore wholeheartedly welcome any improvement to the system that allows disputes to be resolved more quickly to the overall benefit of the victim. However, where a birth injury claim needs to be made through the courts then we are here to help.