Are there more clinical negligence claims relating to mental health problems? Mental health provisions in the UK are facing financial pressures at the moment due to the government’s austerity measures. Budget cuts are taking place across a huge range of sectors, and these have seen real term spending on mental health falling for the first time in around ten years. A recent study by Young Minds found that 34 out of 51 local authorities said they had cut the amount of money earmarked for mental health provisions for children and adolescents since 2010. Spending in this area by Derby City Council plummeted by 41%, while Norfolk City Council revealed a 35% drop.
Furthermore, austerity measures and the global economic downturn are thought to be leading to more and more people suffering mental health problems. Not only is the deficit damaging our health, but the associated stress, pressure and poverty are damaging our mental health too. A book by physician Sanjay Basu and economist David Stuckler claimed that in Europe and North America, a 10% rise in suicides since the start of the recession has led to more than 10,000 additional people taking their own lives, which indicates that approximately 1 million additional cases of depression have taken place.
These factors are combining to make a perfect storm, causing medical negligence solicitors to pursue a far higher number of clinical negligence claims involving mental health problems than they used to. Psychiatrists, local authorities and other mental health experts are stretched to the limit and are increasingly likely to make mistakes and errors, while a far higher volume of patients will inevitably lead to more people suffering inadequate treatment.
What form do mental health medical negligence compensation claims take?
In many cases, people with mental illnesses are some of the most vulnerable people in society. Severe delusions or depression can mean people can require constant, ongoing care and supervision for long periods of time. Suicide is especially common among people with mental health problems – people with depressive disorders are at approximately 30 times the risk of suicide than the average person, while people with psychotic disorders are around 12 times more likely. The mentally ill are also five times more likely to be murdered than the general population. Many people in jail are mentally ill – it is estimated that only around 10% of prisoners do not have any mental disorders.
As a result, it is important for people with mental illnesses to be treated with the care and compassion they deserve and that they receive the same standards of treatment that everyone else expects from medical professionals. In the vast majority of cases, their treatment achieves these standards and helps them throughout their illnesses, but sometimes standards fall well below these standards. In these cases, clinical negligence compensation can be claimed.
Sometimes, clinical negligence compensation cases involve occasions when people have received an inadequate level of supervision or no supervision at all due to the incompetence or negligence of healthcare providers or authorities. Also, medication can make all the difference to many people, and prescription errors or a lack of treatment can cause illnesses to worsen dramatically and can cause serious problems.
People might present themselves at mental health facilities, GPs or hospitals to report concerns about their mental health, and could fail to receive a diagnosis or any form of treatment.
Mental illnesses can also last for a long time or be lifelong, but many of the drugs prescribed for these conditions can only be suitable to take in the short-term. Adverse effects from combining medication are not uncommon.
Why should I contact medical negligence solicitors?
If medical negligence solicitors can demonstrate that a person’s negligent treatment led them to suffer personal injuries, from worsening mental illness to self-harm and suicide, they can pursue a clinical negligence compensation claim so the victim or their family can receive financial damages for this pain and suffering. It might not be obvious which person or organisation was responsible for the negligent treatment at the start of a case, but as the medical negligence claim proceeds these issues are resolved.
Medical negligence solicitors
Claimants may also be able to receive an explanation about what went wrong, assurances that the same mistakes will not happen again and apologies for their pain and suffering. Claims can see a number of difficulties, including the three-year time limitation or difficulties paying for the case, but medical negligence solicitors can help them overcome these problems and give them the best possible chance of success.
Carla Steve comes from a family of mental health workers and is particularly interested in compensation claims for clinical negligence involving mental or psychiatric treatment. When she’s not researching the compensation claim on accident, she likes to eat Italian cuisines and playing table football. She’s lived in Manchester for all her life and currently lives with her boyfriend and her cats.