Clinical Negligence: Medical Problems
If a patient is either temporarily or permanently unable to consent to treatment being given or withheld the Court may make the decision for the patient either on the application of the treating doctors or the family. These cases often arise at short notice and need to be dealt with by specialists.
Increasingly there are issues about some treatments being available within one Trust area but not in nearby areas leading to a kind of “postcode lottery”. Every NHS Trust has a budget from which it allocates its resources. If the manner in which these resources are allocated is obviously unfair the High Court can ask the Authority to think again on an application being made.
Human Rights issues
Article 2 (the right to life) and Article 8 (the protection of private and family life) are the primary sections of the Human Rights Act which impact on medical law. These influence how the coroner deals with Inquests, the investigation and the type of verdict a coroner may return. In certain instances it may enable those who would not normally be able to make a claim in law to make a claim such as family members affected by negligent treatment.
General medico legal issues
Patients may decide to make complaints about doctors and in appropriate cases we provide assistance in relation to complaints to governing bodies of practitioners such as the GMC. We also advise on funding issues for medical treatment and other eligibility issues such as those surrounding the right to reside in the UK of foreign nationals.
Breach of contract cases
A private contractor such as a private hospital or privately apointed doctor is under the same duty to take care of the patient as an NHS patient. However in addition there is a contract between the patient and the provider and in the event of a failure of care the clinician may also be in breach of the contract.