As predicted: the two tier health service has begun
The number of people waiting for routine surgical procedures is now at its highest for six years. The response by the NHS now is to quite candidly invite patients to pay for their own treatment. Dr. Clive Peedell, leader of the National Health Action Party is being brutally honest when he calls it “pay-out-of-your-own-pocket treatment or no treatment”.
The current facts about waiting times: –
- 3.2m waiting for routine scans or procedures;
- A rise of 700,000 since the start of the coalition Government;
- As of last month 189,571 had waited longer than 18 weeks for their routine treatment/investigation;
- This included 521 people who had waited longer than a year.
As a medical expert I can advise that not every “routine” scan will lead to a “routine” or expected diagnosis. It goes without saying that if the answer was known then the investigation would not be so important. By making such a referral the clinician is setting down his or her view that such an investigation will make a difference to how the patient will be treated and it is therefore essential that the investigation is undertaken.
A failure to keep patients under regular review whilst on their interminable waiting list or a failure to “safety net” and warn of signs of symptoms to watch for which could indicate serious underlying pathology are but two examples in which the expected duty of care will be breached.
Medical experts need to understand how waiting times modifies clinicians’ behaviour – the Bolam test is after all dynamic and totally dependent on the practice of that group of responsible practitioners.
As a legal practitioner you need to be advised and guided on apportionment of liability, as far as any expert can, because it is an obvious and natural defence or mitigation for an error arising at the primary care level to share blame with the waiting times incurred by secondary care. [divider]
Dr. Charlesworth-Jones not only holds dual qualifications in both medicine and law but also continues to practice both.
He is up to date with the latest medical education and the most recent legal cases and understands what you need from an expert witness probably more so than any medical expert witness or legal expert. Dr. Charlesworth-Jones, whilst qualified in two professional disciplines, understands his role as an expert and never strays beyond that when he is instructed as an expert.