What was the event?
Clinical negligence concerns all healthcare professionals. It is now recommended that all healthcare professionals have indemnity cover. Anyone who works for the NHS is given indemnity insurance by the NHS litigation authority (NHSLA). Negligence is anything which can be proved that you didn’t follow your duty, as stated in the NMC code of conduct (2008), or you have not followed best practice. This may or may not have resulted in harm to a patient, but putting a patient at risk of possible harm also needs to be avoided.
The NHS wants to avoid any clinical negligence as it would be a drain on valuable resources funded by the public. The NHS is known worldwide as the best healthcare service in the world. They pay for the best training for nurses and offer development opportunities for them post-qualifying. Anyone who fails to meet the standards of care, or meet the responsibilities required of them is not only putting patients at risk, breaking their professional oath, wasting tax payers money, but also reducing public perception/trust in the service.
The Wayne Jowett example given in the presentation was the case of a teenager with cancer who was given a cancer treatment drug by the incorrect route. The drug had been administered into the young man’s spine. After this reversal drugs and surgery had been attempted to reverse the mistake.
The article was very emotive with the statements from his parents about the pain and fear that their son had been in. They described how after a month of him being unconscious, days before the paralyses reached his heart, they had lost hope.
By taking the time to look up the drug and how it was administered, or discussing with; the pharmacists, doctors, or other experienced registered nurses with training in giving cancer drugs, this situation could have been avoided. If the doctors involved prescribed the drug via the wrong route I’m sure that the GMC would have investigated this. If the nurse giving the drug, did so via the wrong route even if it was prescribed so, they should have been struck off. It is in a nurse’s duties to check all prescriptions are prescribed. I think that it could be difficult to establish if negligence has taken place without witnesses, documentation which is completed correctly and medical staff admitting that best practice, guidelines, or the code were not followed, or were broken. Ultimately if your practice/duty puts patients at harm you are responsible and should be brought in front of the NMC and criminal trial, as stated in the law of tort.
What did I learn from the event?
Reflecting on the work covered in this study day, it has made me feel uneasy at the possibility of me opening myself up to risk of prosecution and loss of my career if I should be clinically negligent. However I feel that my training so far has given me the skills and knowledge to prevent clinical negligence either within my amp practice or the practice of others. As a student nurse I do not take any actions that I am not sure are one hundred percent correct. If there is any doubt in my mind I seek help from either textbooks or colleagues.
Considering the contribution is to the National Health Service litigation authority indemnity cover, this is a large amount of money which could be used for the treatment of patients. Unfortunately indemnity insurance is a necessary expense in the modern world we live in. If I was the relative of the patient who had received poor treatment which had resulted in either temporary or permanent poor health or death I would want justice to prevail and may require personal compensation for this, for example if they had small children, or needed care.
Risk management is extremely important in being able to prevent clinical negligence and possibly reduce the amount of indemnity cover payments. Accurate clear documentation and record-keeping is vitally important as a healthcare…