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The Redoubtable #Anna_Raccoon Dying With/of #Cancer Defends The NHS …


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The Redoubtable #Anna_Raccoon Dying With/of #Cancer Defends The NHS …

Posted by:
Greg Lance – Watkins






Cancer sufferer urges patients to stop suing NHS

Susanne Cameron-Blackie: ‘the NHS provides all you need without a penny going to lawyers’ALBAN DONOHOE/ALBANPIX

A woman dying of cancer has started a campaign to curb the compensation culture in the NHS despite suffering two cases of medical negligence herself.

Susanne Cameron-Blackie, 68, from Norfolk, has been given three months to live after being diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma, a soft tissue cancer, six years ago. It has spread through her body, leaving her virtually paralysed.

She is determined to spend her final weeks battling to cut the spiralling costs of litigation against the NHS. Last year, settlements and costs took £1.5bn out of the NHS budget.

NHS Resolution (formerly known as the NHS Litigation Authority) estimates that £56bn could be needed to deal with all cases arising from failures and mistakes made up to March 2016.

“That is the equivalent of half the annual budget of the NHS,” said Cameron-Blackie. She suffered in her early twenties when her womb was removed without permission as she was undergoing a dilation and curettage procedure. During recent treatment she was given another patient’s medication, leaving her in agony.

“But I didn’t sue,” Cameron-Blackie said. “The money from the original operation would have made no difference, I just got on with my life. The second time, I would not have got anything — the money would have gone to my husband in a few years’ time. What good would that do?

“Even the valid claims where somebody gets £6m and it’s entirely justified, that money goes into the court of protection and all their needs are met by the NHS.

“It is whether there is a fault that matters. If you can’t prove a fault, then you can have a patient with exactly the same damage, exactly the same needs and they are met in exactly the same way, but there is no payout.”

Cameron-Blackie, who formerly worked for the lord chancellor’s office, has returned home after her latest hospital treatment. The NHS has installed a bed and oxygen in her home on the Norfolk Broads.

“When the chips are down and you are left like this, the NHS provides everything and more that you need without a penny piece going anywhere near lawyers,” she said.

Cameron-Blackie is likely to find widespread support for her campaign.

Rob Hendry, medical director at the Medical Protection Society, which represents healthcare professionals, said: “A package of legal reforms is required to control the spiralling cost of clinical negligence, including a fixed cap on the legal fees that can be charged.”

A spokesman for NHS Resolution said it aimed to settle claims fairly and quickly. “We also have a responsibility to defend unjustified claims robustly. We received 10,965 new clinical negligence claims in 2015-16 [and] resolved 4,935 (46%) of clinical negligence claims without the payment of damages.”

Ralph Naderbolsinmattu 6 days ago


The NHS Litigation Authority lost 76% of cases it contested in court, causing distress and pain to thousands of patients damaged by negligence.

PlatoSays 9 days ago


For those who’ve enjoyed the Anna Raccoon blog and twitter account over a decade or more.

A superb lady with a remarkable life story.

Kate Catleugh 9 days ago


There is a toxic chicken and egg situation here. Of course a cash-strapped NHS should not be paying enormous damages that result from expensive legal claims.  As things are now, the NHS very often will try and deny/defend/obfuscate to avoid the legal consequences of its actions. This of course not only escalates the costs but also prevents the lessons which should be learned from such errors to be learned.

If the NHS provides the remedies or reliefs needed as a consequence of it’s actions without charge anyway,  how much more rapidly, cleanly and efficiently this could happen if faults were admitted and rectified, as far as possible.  Where loss of life or hurt feelings are concerned,  surely an honest admission, a lesson truly learned and a prompt and sincere apology is far more appropriate than a long drawn out legal case and punitive financial damages awarded against the organisation least able to afford it without further jeopardising it’s ability to deliver for other patients.

Nick Simpson 9 days ago


My missus is a lawyer who spends her working week suing the NHS.  Go on, hate me.

Her typical client is a five year old with brain damage caused by an accident at birth.  By accident I mean a toxic combination of incompetence and stupidity. 

If such children die, compensation is minimal to non-existent.  The kids who really cost the NHS money are the ones that live, because they can live for decades unable to speak, walk, talk, feed themselves or wipe their own backside, let alone go to the shops or earn a living.  Someone has to look after them; and looking after them properly costs a lot of money.

The idea that the NHS treats everyone whose life chances are ruined in this way is absolute rubbish.  It doesn’t.

Legal Aid is no longer available for Clinical Negligence cases.  Lawyers must take such cases on contingency fee arrangements (No Win, No Fee).  That means lawyers like Mrs VoP have to decide very carefully which cases stand a reasonable chance of succeeding at trial.  She turns many down, because the alternative is to do a lot of work for nothing and unfairly raise the hopes of families.  Lawyers who push weak cases swiftly find out the consequences.

Yes, it’s true that Clin Neg lawyers are well paid (although not as well remunerated as doctors, whose average pensions are in the region of £50,000).  But the NHS could save enormous insurance fees by putting its own house in order.  Firstly, it could train its midwives properly (a common cause of negligence is that midwives are slow to grasp that a delivery might be in some way out of the ordinary).  Secondly, it could change the culture of defensiveness whereby doctors lie, cover each other’s backs and even alter medical notes in an attempt to avoid blame.  Thirdly, it could try making an early assessment of each allegation of negligence – Mrs VoP reports that again and again Trusts reject claims until a late stage of the procedure (presumably because to do so costs money and would involve medical staff being confronted with their mistakes), by which time the Claimants lawyers have spent tens of thousands which NHS insurers end up having to pay.

The reality is that, in an era where massive NHS failures are routine news items (a major one only last week), the fear of litigation exerts a powerful pressure on Trusts to raise standards.  Get rid of that if you like.  But don’t complain when clinical standards fall.

And by the way, no-fault insurance for medical accidents has been tried in other countries.  And abandoned as too expensive.

CM 9 days ago


Why in early can’t doctors and nurses be required to purchase their own insurance so insurance companies cover the costs? Do we even require this of our vastly over paid locums? It really is time to get rid of the vast state monolith and move to the perfect competition of multiple private suppliers paid by health insurance to drive up standards. I’d happily spend more on healthcare like they do in France if I knew the money followed the patient instead of creating loads of pointless back office non jobs for labour voters. The NHS is third world healthcare. No one who actually uses it regularly thinks it’s great except our many third world health tourists who really do get it for free, unlike the taxpayer, who pays over the odds for a third world service. I want healthcare as good as France’s or Germany’s. That means choosing and copying one of the several superior continental models. Get on with it.

Bobo08 9 days ago


@CM Insurance is business model that generates profit from premiums. So if doctors etc had to buy their own cover, then they’d ask for more pay to do so and the cost would actually increase. By self insuring, the NHS is saving money. It is as the article demonstrates, the ‘somebody must pay culture’ that drives these claims. My own wish would be that mistakes are recognised, lessons are learnt and corrections made to the process. 

Bryan Attewell 9 days ago


This lady deserves great credit for her stance on compensation culture. 

While there are no doubt some deserving cases, people in genuine need of financial support due to an error, too often this is seen as a route to easy money with cynical legal professionals stoking the fire. 

stella hollis 9 days ago


It is the level of damages which is the problem not the nmber of cases. Actual provable loss is no longer the yardstick. Huge damages are awarded for people’s feelings and the like. Future loss is assessed and handed over and not repaid if the recipient dies. And this extends as a problem far beyond the NHS to the military and insurance and everyday purchases. And it is all the time being encouraged by adverts on television .

To view the original article CLICK HERE
As I have known and followed Susanne Cameron-Blackie for a number of years and colluded on certain issues, particularly in her personna of Anna Raccoon, a link to her site can be found on CLICK HERE
I totally endorse her sentiments regarding suing the NHS, having refused to sue for considerable damage done to me during my nephrectomy and subsequently, damage that has given me both disability and pain every day since the operation in Sep-2001!
Every penny piece I might have been paid by way of compensation would have been money denied to other patients for their medical treatment, not to mention the obscene percentage that would have vanished in costs and fees!
I whole heartedly endorse Susanne’s stance and would commend to you her heartfelt and selfless essay on the subject CLICK HERE
Think of Susanne and join with me in wishing her a pain free final journey having fulfilled so many challenges, acting ethically and with courage to the end in a reflection of her style through her lifetime. When the time comes I will miss her humour and the razor sharp ethical manner she always had to cut to the chase – I do so hope she will continue to out live both the odds and predictions, with her usual stoic determination, for a prolongued period until it suits her to avoid the risk of further pain and indignity.
Long before her diagnosis with cancer I never really thanked her for her compassion and encouragement in my battle with cancer, that most penicious and unwelcome visitation on ones body, life and loved ones.


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