West Midlands Police have had to pay out £328,100 in compensation to 26 of its employees over the past twelve months as a result of personal injury claims.
The pay-outs covered a wide range of incidents including one officer who suffered from stress after being exposed to HIV and another officer who suffered from an asbestos-related disease.
Other accidents at work included dog bites and slipping on wet floor.
Between them the injured officers received £328,100 in compensation. The West Midlands Police force has since insisted that their latest figures showed a 7.5% drop in accidents and injuries, which reflected significant improvements.
Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale said:
“Police officers face dangerous situations on a daily basis while on duty, protecting people from harm. This is a fundamental nature of the job and a reality accepted by West Midlands Police officers and staff, whose health and safety we take extremely seriously.
“We are responsible for our employees when they are on duty and when we fall short of meeting that responsibility, they are entitled to protection under the law and seek redress through the courts.”
If you have been affected by an accident at work, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Half of patients left with complications from cataract operations carried out by Vanguard for the NHS at Musgrove Park hospital in Taunton.
Private healthcare company, Vanguard Healthcare, were hired to carry out routine cataract operations at the hospital to reduce a backlog. The hospital’s contract with Vanguard Healthcare was terminated only four days after the operations began, after a significant amount of patients reported complications, including blurred vision, pain and swelling.
Dozens of patients have been left with impaired vision, pain and discomfort after undergoing these operations and one elderly patient claimed he lost his sight as a result.
The son of the 84-year-old said the procedure only took 15 minutes and that his father felt it was “very rushed”, and that the staff told his wife that she was not allowed to be present due to limited space.
After the operation his vision was impaired but he thought this was simply part of the procedure and that it would later return so went home, until Musgrove Park later told him that he needed to return as there had been complications.
His son said:
“My father is traumatised and depressed with the loss of his eyesight. Previous pleasures of gardening and watching sport on the TV have been taken away from him.
“This could have been prevented if the welfare of the patients had been thought about, rather than this urgency of getting people through.”
What will the outcome be?
Some of the patients who have suffered complications, have sought legal advice on seeking compensation, which has raised the issue of whether the private company will be responsible for payouts, or whether the NHS will be expected to pay.
The trust refused to talk about the details of the investigation and has also refused to discuss which company will be paying out compensation costs.
Dr Colin Close, Musgrove Park’s medical director has stated:
“We still don’t know exactly what the cause is – we’re trying to identify that at the moment. There could be a range of causes.
“We’re deeply disappointed for our patients, but we want to reassure everybody in Taunton that they can have complete confidence in our own ophthalmology department. Anyone coming up for cataract surgery in Musgrove has nothing to be worried about.”
The Vanguard mobile unit used for the operations has been quarantined while an investigation is being carried out to discover whether the fault was down to human error or mechanical/chemical factors.
If you have been affected by a negligent cataract operation, and you would like expert advice, contact the Hampson Hughes Solicitors Medical Negligence Team today on 0151 242 1025 or email email@example.com
The director of a building firm was prosecuted after it emerged the health of bricklayers, plasterers and a roofer were put at serious risk for a prolonged period of time.
Roland Couzens, 67, a director at CSC Construction Ltd, had been supervising a project to refurbish a row of Victorian terraced houses on Ashton Old Road in Openshaw between May and September 2013.
The company, which has since gone into administration, had been stripping the houses before plastering and fitting them with new kitchens and bathrooms.
After an investigation by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which found that one of the vacant properties was being used for the site office and to provide welfare facilities for the workers. However there was no hot or warm water supply in either the kitchen or bathroom.
The Court was told that the bricklayers and plasterers were put at risk of suffering skin burns as they were working with cement and plaster but could not use hot water to clean themselves and a roofer working with lead could have suffered lead poisoning from having residues left on his skin.
Mr Couzens disclosed that he visited the site several times a week during the project but failed to provide a hot water supply until after the HSE inspection, despite the need for hot water being highlighted in the company’s construction plan.
What was the outcome?
Mr Couzens was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £3,102 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
HSE Inspector, Matt Greenly, said:
“There were around a dozen people working on the site every day so it’s astonishing that they were without hot water for more than 3 months.
“Mr Couzens was brought in to oversee the project, including the health and safety of workers, but he failed to ensure this basic legal requirement was met.
“This case should act as a warning to companies and directors that we will not hesitate to prosecute if they do not act to ensure the health and safety of their employees.”
If you have been affected by an incident such as this, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A new report into Rotherham child sex abuse, written by Professor Alexis Jay, has found that around 1,400 children were sexually exploited in Rotherham over a 16-year period.
Rotherham child sex abuse – report findings
The report, covering child sexual exploitation cases in the South Yorkshire town from 1997 to 2013, claims that police and council agencies had failed to protect the victims – some of whom had been gang-raped, doused in petrol, and threatened with being set alight if they told anyone.
The report highlights that over a third of the victims were known to child protection agencies. However, the extent of the problem was downplayed by political figures and senior managers within Rotherham council – the problem was also not seen as a priority by South Yorkshire police.
Prof Jay found that girls, some as young as 11, had been raped by large groups of men. She said:
“They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten and intimidated.”
Suppressed reports of child abuse in Rotherham
The failure to take action was despite three damning reports released between 2002 and 2006, the contents of which Prof Jay states:
“could not have been clearer in the description of the situation in Rotherham”.
The three reports highlighted the extent of child exploitation and outlined links to wider criminality. However, the findings were suppressed or simply ignored – the inquiry team heard that police had failed to act on the crimes, and had treated the victims with contempt.
The majority of the accused men were described by the victims to be Asian. Many staff members were hesitant to identify the perpetrators for fear of being thought racist. Other staff members recall clear direction from their managers not to act.
John Cameron, Head of the NSPCC helpline, said:
“This report is truly damning and highlights consistent failures to protect children from sexual abuse at the hands of predatory groups of men.
“It is quite astonishing that even when frontline staff raised concerns, these were not acted upon so allowing devastating child sexual exploitation to go unchallenged.”
Spotlight on Rotherham
Rotherham first came under scrutiny in 2010, when five men received prison sentences after being found guilty of grooming teenage girls.
Following this case, The Times released details from 200 restricted-access documents that allegedly exposed police and child protection agencies in Rotherham as having had comprehensive knowledge of these activities for a decade.
Response to the report
Rotherham council, which commissioned the report, has responded by saying that the failures were the fault of senior police officers, senior managers in child protection services, and elected councillors, “almost without exception”.
Martin Kimber, Rotherham council’s chief executive, said:
“The report does not make comfortable reading in its account of the horrific experiences of some young people in the past, and I would like to reiterate our sincere apology to those who were let down when they needed help.
“However, that must not overshadow – and certainly does not excuse – the finding that for a significant amount of time the council and its partners could and should have done more to protect young people from what must be one of the most horrific forms of abuse imaginable.”
If you have experienced sexual abuse in relation to the Rotherham report, and you would like expert legal guidance, contact Hampson Hughes solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email email@example.com
Royal Liverpool Hospital has apologised for causing a patient distress after she was only told she had cancer at a follow-up appointment, by which time she had assumed that her test results were normal.
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman heard that Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust had taken too long to tell the patient that she had cancer, as they had previously told her that if there were any abnormalities with her results she would be contacted before her follow up appointment was due.
She also claimed that she had initially attempted to complain to the Trust itself but was unhappy with the way they had dealt with the issue, resulting in her turning to the Ombudsman.
A report by the Ombudsman read:
“The trust could have given Miss A her diagnosis more quickly but we felt that the time this took was not unreasonable and would not have adversely affected her prognosis. We did not uphold this part of the complaint.
“The trust had discussed with staff the fact that Miss A had been given incorrect information about how she would receive her results but it did not explain this well to Miss A in its responses to her complaint.
They then went on to say:
“We agreed with Miss A that the trust’s complaint handling was not acceptable and we upheld this part of the complaint.
They told the hospital they would pay the patient £250, apologise for the distress they had caused her and for their poor handling of her complaint, and to formulate a new course of action to prevent a similar situation occurring in the future.
Chief Nurse at the trust, Lisa Grant, has since stated that:
“Although there were no failings in the medical treatment provided to this patient, we did not handle their complaint in a timely or appropriate manner and have apologised to the patient for the distress this has caused them.
“We are currently reviewing our complaints handling processes to address any shortcomings and improve the quality of our responses.
“We have invested in our patient advice and liaison team and run regular listening events, inviting people to tell us about any concerns or positive experiences, so we can learn from them.”
The Ombudsman decided to publish the results of their investigations into this matter online as a caution, to encourage organisations to learn from these kinds of mistakes and their criticism.
If you have been affected by delayed diagnosis, and you would like expert advice, contact the Hampson Hughes Solicitors Medical Negligence Team today on 0151 242 1025 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We’re very proud to sponsor the fantastic Town Green FC under 8’s football team & have been sent these great photo’s of one of the team’s players showing off his new HH sponsored kit! Good Luck to the whole team for the new season!
The General Medical Council (GMC) is considering the introduction of stricter sanctions in instances of GP error. This could include forcing a negligent doctor to formally apologise to an affected patient, and restricting the practice of GPs who have retrained as a result of making mistakes.
Praise and opposition for new measures
The GMC is the UK’s medical regulatory body – all doctors who wish to practise medicine in the UK must register with the GMC. The GMC currently has extensive regulatory powers (such as suspending or removing negligent doctors). However, the new proposals will mean increased controls.
These improved controls are aimed at taking more stringent action in the small number of cases that are of public concern. For example, penalties could be introduced where a doctor does not act on a suspicion that a colleague is under-performing.
Niall Dickson, GMC chief executive, commented:
“Doctors are among the most trusted professionals, and rightly so. In the vast majority of cases one-off clinical errors do not merit action by the GMC.
“But if we are to maintain that trust, in the small number of serious cases where doctors fail to listen to concerns they should be held to account for their actions.”
Dr Clare Gerada, an NHS medical director, has expressed the opinion that such sanctions could be damaging to the profession, stating that in some cases the measures could:
“traumatise and put in additional fear for the vast majority of doctors who go in every day to do a good job.”
Dr Gerada added:
“Of course it’s important that we take into account the patient and we look at the damage that’s been done to the patient, but it’s also important that whatever sanction is a proportionate sanction, is a fair sanction.”
Health Secretary Jeromy Hunt has backed the proposals, stating that he is in favour of improving patient safety in the wake of the Mid Staffs scandal. The consultation ends on 14th November – following a review, the results will be published in 2015.
Professional legal guidance from Hampson Hughes Solicitors
If you believe that you have experienced GP negligence, you could be entitled to medical negligence compensation.
For further information on medical negligence, and to discover how we could help you to secure personal injury compensation, call our expert Medical Negligence Team on 0151 242 1025 or email email@example.com
A landlord from Slough has been fined for serious safety breaches after he left a young family in potential danger for nearly four years after consistently failing to check the gas appliances in a property he rented to them.
The gas appliances had not been maintained and tested so the family could be provided with a Landlord’s Gas Safety Record for the property.
As a landlord, Mohammed Nawaz, 25, had a legal duty to ensure the gas appliances in any properties he rented were checked every 12 months by a competent gas engineer.
However, between June 2010 and February 2014, no such tests were carried out and no documentation was ever given to the tenants at any stage in the 4 years tenancy.
When a Gas Safe Register engineer finally visited the property, the boiler was classed as “at risk” because of an incompetent seal around the flue and incorrectly-sized gas supply pipes to the boiler.
Regardless of a warning and an enforcement notice from HSE, plus an abatement notice from the local council requiring him to comply with the law, Mr Nawaz neglected to respond, continuing to expose the family to potential health risks.
What was the outcome?
Mr Nawaz was fined a total of £9,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £3,941 after admitting two offences of breaching gas safety regulations and a further offence of failing to comply with an enforcement notice.
HSE Inspector, Karen Morris, said:
“Mohammed Nawaz failed to take seriously his duties and responsibilities as a landlord and the result was to put a family-including two children at risk of significant harm.
“There is no excuse for landlords failing to ensure that gas appliances in rented properties are properly maintained and subject to annual safety checks.”
“These are simple and inexpensive measures but they are vital for the safety of the people living in the premises.”
Russell Kramer, Chief Executive of Gas Safe Register, commented:
“When it comes to rented property, it is important that landlords know their duties and tenants know their rights.
“A landlord must be able to provide a as safety record for the property, showing that the gas appliances have been safety-checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer in the last 12 months.”
If you have been affected by an incident involving housing disrepair, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lanchester Dairies Ltd in County Durham has been prosecuted for safety failings after a worker suffered life-changing injuries after a fall.
Simon Atkinson, 41, of Dipton, had been unloading empty milk bottles from a vehicle into a storage area set 1.6m below ground level of the outside yard of the Lanchester Dairies site.
He was alone at the time of the incident but because he sustained a head injury, he had no recollection of the fall. His fall was either from ground level or from the rear of the delivery vehicle which was 2.6m above the concrete floor of the storage area.
A barrier had formerly been in place across the doorway to the storage area to prevent falls but this had been removed 2 years earlier and never replaced.
A risk assessment for the company, carried out 9 months before the incident, had stated that a safe system of work and training was needed for unloading the vehicle but this was not implemented until after Mr Atkinson’s fall.
He fractured an eye socket, sustained bleeding in his skull, had multiple collar bone fractures, a broken rib and had to be put in an induced coma until surgery was carried out to remove a blood clot from inside his skull.
He was in hospital for 9 days and has been unable to return to work since his fall. He is awaiting further surgery to repair damage to his spine.
What was the outcome?
An investigation into the incident found that despite a risk assessment identifying a ‘likely’ risk of a fall, there were no measures in place to prevent one.
Lanchester Dairies Ltd was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £1,690 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
HSE Inspector, Michael Kingston, said:
“Lanchester Dairies was aware that the work being done by Mr Atkinson and others, involved a fall risk, yet they failed to implement simple, inexpensive measures to prevent it.
“Falls from height are one of the main causes of major injury and death in the workplace.
“This case reinforces the need to properly assess the risks and to put in place measures to prevent falls occurring.”
If you have been affected by an accident at work, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email email@example.com
The Centre for Social Justice has released a report this week warning about the rapidly growing problem of legal highs, and what needs to be done to help those addicted before it becomes too late.
What is the problem?
Legal highs (also called new psychoactive substances or NPS’) are designed to produce similar effects to traditional illegal drugs such as Cocaine, Heroin, MDMA or Amphetamines.
They are frequently labelled as ‘not safe for human consumption’ as a means of circumventing the UK Medicines Act 1968.
The drugs were linked to 97 deaths in 2012, however experts warn this could top 400 deaths in 2016.
Hospital admissions due to legal highs rose by 56% between 2009 and 2012.
The UK has the highest youth legal high use in Europe.
More than 350 substances once classed as legal highs have been banned by the government. However new drugs flood the market quicker than they can be banned. The current estimate is that there are about 25 legal high substances in the UK.
The CSJ has stated that FRANK, the government’s flagship drug and alcohol prevention programme, is ‘shamefully inadequate’, as only 1 in 10 children would call the FRANK helpline.
It also states that the NHS, Public Health England and local authorities risk ‘giving up’ on many addicts.
What does the CSJ propose should happen?
It urges punishment for high street shops selling dangerous drugs. Many legal highs are sold in head shops of which there are close to 250 in the UK.
It wants to see the introduction of a scheme similar to the one in Ireland. The Psychoactive Substance Bill gave the Gardaí the power to seek court orders to close head shops suspected of selling banned substances. This meant the number of shops selling legal highs dropped from more than 100 to less than 10.
It wants a greater investment in the clampdown of online legal high sales. The problem of online legal high sales was first highlighted in August last year when Adam Hunt, 18, died after taking the psychoactive substance AMT at his home in Southampton, Hampshire, after purchasing it from a website.
It suggests that a treatment tax should be added to the cost of alcohol in shops to fund a new generation of rehabilitation treatment centres and stem the tide of Britain’s addiction problem.
Under the scheme, a levy of a penny per unit would be added by the end of the next Parliament to fund recovery services. It is estimated it would make £1.1 billion over five years. It would be spent solely on setting up a network of abstinence-based rehabilitation centres and funding sessions within them.
Are people beginning to speak out?
Last month ministers called the rise in the use of legal highs a ‘national emergency.’ Labour frontbencher, Toby Perkins, said:
“The truth is that some retailers are mocking the law, laughing at powerless regulators, while visiting misery and mayhem on our communities.”
Several leading UK festivals, including Glastonbury, Bestival and V Festival banned the sale of the drugs and called for more action to be taken against a problem blighting communities around the country.
7 people were arrested at V Festival for selling legal highs and 10 festival goers who were caught with nitrous oxide (or laughing gas) were ejected from the site.
Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said:
“All too often young people take their lives into their own hands by dabbling with so-called ‘legal’ highs when they don’t even know if they are safe, let alone legal.
“Some of these substances are proven to be more dangerous than illegal drugs and it is vital that young people are informed about the risks associated with their use.”
If you have been affected by product liability, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org