In a case conference last week (and not for the first time in recent months) I was told by our GP expert in attendance, that he believed the changes in the way patients are accessing care from the NHS and the marked shift away from face-to-face consultations that began pre-pandemic and has been accelerated by the pandemic years, will result in more preventable deaths and injury to vulnerable patients going forward.


As explored by The Times in an article titled “NHS ‘new normal’ will kill people, doctors warn” the issues extend far beyond General Practice. The NHS as whole seems close to breaking point. The Times draws attention to record breaking waiting times for ambulances, long waits for cancer diagnosis and treatment, long waits for orthopaedic surgery leaving patients in pain and immobile and only 72% of patients attending A&E units are being seen within the target time of 4 hours.


The article quotes Tim Cooksley, president of the Society for Acute Medicine who says: The latest set of performance data shows that the new normal is at an unacceptably poor level for both patients and staff…. The absence of significant plans in the Queen’s Speech to recognise the NHS and social care crisis is of grave concern”


As raised by our expert, the strategies that are being touted as a solution to the overstretched and under resourced NHS by policy makers don’t seem to be improving the situation for medics or patients: Technology and telephone calls only get you so far in terms of assessment and treatment.


Anecdotally our existing clients are suffering acutely: An elderly client whose mobility was badly compromised after surgery recently was offered ineffective telephone physiotherapy which led to a longer period of immobility and more difficult recovery. A young child we are representing, experienced significant delays in accessing face-to-face speech and language input which may have a knock-on impact for their longer-term development.


In terms of the new enquiries that we are seeing coming through from people concerned regarding the care they have received, there is a definite pattern emerging where it appears that the task of getting into the system and accessing treatment is becoming harder all the time.


If you are concerned about the care that you or a loved one have received, please contact a member of our team for a free, informal discussion: -


Carolyn Lowe, Partner on 0186 5 781019 carolyn.lowe@freeths.co.uk


Catherine Bell, Director on 01865 781140 catherine.bell@freeths.co.uk


Lynne Foster, Managing Associate on 01865 781010 lynne.foster@freeths.co.uk


Katie Shaw, Associate on 01865 781009 katie.shaw@freeths.co.uk


For further information please also visit our website at: http://www.freeths.co.uk/legal-services/individuals/clinical-negligence/