UK Supreme Court finds Non-Medically Trained Professionals owe a Duty of Care
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Date Published:12 Mar 2019 Last Updated:18 Jan 2022

UK Supreme Court finds Non-Medically Trained Professionals owe a Duty of Care

Personal Injury Claims

Medical Negligence can arise even at some of the earliest stages of hospital treatment, it has been recently established that the scope of this duty can extend even to those who are not medically trained.

Last year Lord Lloyd-Jones held that a breach of duty had occurred when an A&E receptionist had provided misleading information to a patient on their arrival to the hospital.

The case involved a 26 year old male, who had attended Croydon A&E department after being assaulted and sustaining a head injury. On his arrival to the department he informed the receptionist of his injury only to be told that he may have to wait up to five hours to be seen. The claimant did not want to wait this long and after waiting for around 20 minutes decided to leave the hospital.

His condition deteriorated and he was then taken back to hospital by ambulance where a CT scan revealed an extradural haematoma leaving him with permanent brain damage.

The claimant was unsuccessful at trial and dismissed on appeal. However when the case was taken to the UK Supreme Court, it was established that the case fell within an established category of duty of care. Furthermore it was held that the receptionist had breached their duty of care in providing the claimant with misleading information regarding the treatment and waiting time. All head injuries were to be examined by a triage nurse and the wait time would be approximately 30 minutes. It was determined that, had the claimant been given this information he would not have left the hospital and would have received immediate treatment resulting in almost a full recovery.

In this case it did not matter that the information was given by someone who was non-medically trained, the Defendant had charged the receptionist with being the initial point of contact to those seeking medical assistance therefore they were responsible for taking reasonable care not to provide misleading information as to the likely availability of medical assistance.

If you believe you may have suffered from medical negligence within an A&E Department please contact our specialist No Win, No Fee lawyer now for a free consultation Sandra Bostock (01202 057713).