About NHS Resolution
NHS Resolution is a Special Health Authority, which operates in a similar way to an insurer by providing indemnity for clinical negligence to NHS hospitals. We work to ensure that patients who are eligible to receive financial compensation do so as quickly as possible. We also work in partnership with organisations such as the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) to identify and share opportunities to learn and improve patient care. Our maternity incentive scheme is one example of where we are supporting hospitals to deliver safer maternity care.
What is NHS Resolution’s Early Notification scheme?
NHS Resolution’s Early Notification (EN) scheme aims to provide a more rapid, caring response to families whose baby may have suffered severe harm. It is designed to do two things:
- To speed up investigations into whether or not your baby is entitled to receive compensation, reducing the need for slow and costly, formal processes where possible; and
- To help ensure that steps are taken to learn from things that have gone wrong to improve maternity care as well as sharing good practice. We work in partnership with the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB). HSIB conduct a safety investigation into your baby’s birth, looking at whether there are any opportunities for the healthcare system to learn and improve future patient care. The sharing of HSIB’s findings with NHS Resolution under our EN scheme will help us to consider whether or not your baby may be entitled to receive compensation.
The EN scheme aims to make maternity and neonatal services safer and encourages openness and honesty between hospitals, patients and families, including giving quick explanations about what has happened.
What will happen once a matter is reported to NHS Resolution?
HSIB will firstly conduct a safety investigation into your baby’s birth. Once we receive the HSIB investigation report, NHS Resolution will then write to you directly to confirm whether or not a legal investigation will start. We will also let you know when you should expect to hear from us again with an outcome into whether or not you are entitled compensation. We will also make sure that you know how to access other resources such as independent legal advice.
NHS Resolution’s in-house, specialist team will review all available information about the care you received during the antenatal period, the delivery of your baby and the period immediately after the birth. This may also include relevant medical records, statements and any other available investigation reports. We will review this information to decide whether:
- There is any evidence that your baby has a hypoxic brain injury that could potentially result in compensation; and
- If so, whether there are any concerns about the care provided to you and your baby.
If you would like to know more about the legal tests involved when assessing these questions, please see the Action against Medical Accidents’ website which has some very useful explanations.
Following our in-house review, we may need to ask one of our specialist medical lawyers to obtain an independent expert’s view to help us determine whether there is an entitlement for compensation.
In other cases, NHS Resolution may decide that there isn’t any evidence of an injury or concerns with the care to investigate the case further.
In either circumstance, all your information will be handled sensitively and securely. To learn more about how NHS Resolution will use your personal information, please see our privacy notice.
We will write to you and keep you informed as to what steps are being taken. You will be given all the information that you need, including how to contact the hospital or NHS Resolution directly if you have any questions or concerns about your baby’s health or if your baby has suffered a hypoxic brain injury, and how to access other resources such an independent legal advice and information on organisations that can offer you specialist advice and support (please see below for more information).
Do I (as a patient or family member) need to do anything?
No. We appreciate this must be a very difficult time for you so we will work with the hospital and HSIB directly. During the investigation, it can be helpful for us to review your baby’s medical records from their GP or other hospitals. If that needs to happen, we will ask for your consent to obtain these records. You do not have to give consent if you do not want to.
If you want independent specialist advice you are free to do so at any stage. Please see below for details of some examples of organisations that are able to provide support.
Please also be assured that all information will be handled sensitively and securely and that learning from the EN process will be shared on an anonymised basis unless we have the family’s express agreement to provide specific details.
For more information, contact NHS Resolution directly on ENTeam@resolution.nhs.uk or call us on 0207 811 6263, or speak with the maternity contact at your hospital.
Information about HSIB and the investigation they will undertake can be found here – HSIB’s role in maternity investigations.
We understand that this must be a very difficult time for you and your family. There are several organisations that can provide you with specialist advice, including:
Bliss is the national charity that supports babies born premature or sick and their families. They can offer advice and support via a freephone helpline. Tel: 0500 618 140.
NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapy www.england.nhs.uk/mental-health/adults/iapt/
The NHS provides free access to psychological therapy on a regional basis through the IAPT service. This can be accessed by the link and services in your area located including self-referral details.
Peeps HIE www.peeps-hie.org
Peeps Charity provide support to families affected by babies born with HIE Hypoxic – Ischaemic encephalopathy. Tel: 0800 987 5422.
A charity set up to offer support to anyone affected by the death of a baby and to improve the care bereaved parents receive.
The Samaritans www.samaritans.org
The Samaritans provide a free 24-hour listening and advice service 365 days a year. They can be contacted from any phone anytime by calling 116 123 from the UK and Republic of Ireland.
Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) http://www.avma.org.uk
AvMA is an independent charity which offers free medico-legal advice to people affected by sub-standard care. They can advise and support families with regard to the ENS or other processes which are open to them. AvMA also accredits specialist clinical negligence solicitors to whom families can be referred, if necessary, or provide families with their details. Their helpline is open between 10am and 3.30pm, Monday to Friday. Tel: 0845 123 2352.
Citizens Advice Bureau citizensadvice.org.uk
The Citizens Advice Bureau provides some free advice and may be able to put you in touch with a legal advisor.
Law Society www.lawsociety.org.uk
For independent legal advice, from a specialist clinical negligence lawyer, you can contact the Law Society.
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists – www.rcog.org.uk
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) works to improve health care for women everywhere, by setting standards for clinical practice, providing doctors with training and lifelong learning, and advocating for women’s health care worldwide.
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