Conference Paves Way For Better Patient Care

Irwin Mitchell and NHSLA Co-Host Successful One-Day Event


A host of experts in the fields of medicine and law gathered on 23rd March 2011 at a special one-day conference co-organised by Irwin Mitchell and the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) to highlight the importance of mistakes made by medical staff and pave the way for better patient care.

The Learning from Mistakes event took place at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham and considered how lawyers assess the work of medical professionals and what can be learnt from the litigation process.

Guest speakers from across the field of medical law gave the audience of senior clinicians, health trust directors, claims managers and risk managers their views on how standards of patient safety in the NHS can be improved through actively responding to adverse incidents.

Among those offering advice and expertise at the event was Professor Dame Joan Higgins, Chair of the NHSLA, who opened the presentations with a keynote speech on the issue from the perspective of partnership working for the public good.

Other speeches at the event saw experts, including Professor Alan Aitkenhead of the University of Nottingham, Professor Robin Williamson and consultant Julian Woolfson, offer case studies on how the NHS can learn from safety issues raised in the past.

Orthopaedic surgeon John Getty, Amanda Ayres of DNV Healthcare & Biorisk UK and Simeon Maskrey QC also discussed the standards to which medical professionals should be adhering.

An insight was provided into work being done by the NHSLA, supported by the solicitors on its’ clinical panel and risk management services provider, to ensure that lessons are learned from mistakes and a speaker from an NHS trust illustrated how this happens in practice.

Irwin Mitchell’s own clinical negligence experts Sara Burns and Ian Christian also offered insights into how lawyers consider the work carried out by doctors, why clients approach them and the ways that the experts pursue claims on behalf clients.

David Body, the national head of Medical Law at Irwin Mitchell who both opened and closed the special event, said he hoped useful insights had been provided to all attendees.

“The aim of this event was simply to demonstrate how those in the medical profession can learn a lot from understanding the processes of the legal sector, as well as what happens when patients have suffered due to errors,” he explained.

“We hope that those who attended have been able to take away plenty of knowledge which will provide them with clear ideas on how mistakes in the first instance need to be treated as something to learn from as soon as possible.”

David added: “By raising awareness of these issues, we ultimately hope that the way the NHS reacts to problems improves and leads to better standards of care and treatment for all patients.”