The NHS Early Notification Scheme (ENS) investigates serious brain injuries that happen to children at birth. Its aim is to speed up the investigation of these incidents and give families answers as soon as possible after serious injuries.
If you’ve been referred to the ENS, our solicitors can give you independent legal advice to help you understand the process.
Once the investigation is over, we’ll help you get the financial support you need to manage your child’s medical and care needs. We’ll work out how much your child’s lifetime care will cost, and negotiate with the NHS to make sure any settlement covers these costs.
Our Asset Management team can put a plan in place to protect compensation for the future. Our Public Law team can make sure your child’s rights are respected and you can access community care and any other public services you need. Our client liaisons will put you in touch with charities, rehabilitation specialists, and other organisations who can help.
Read the following FAQs on how the ENS works. If you’d like to discuss your situation with us, call 0800 121 6567 or contact us online.
What Is the NHS Early Notification Scheme?
The NHS Early Notification Scheme (ENS) started in April 2017. Its purpose is to help speed up the investigation process for families if their child is born with potentially severe brain injuries.
An NHS Trust at any hospital needs to report all births that could leave a child with a brain injury to their legal department. They have to do this within 14 days of the injury happening. The legal department then reports the incident to NHS Resolution within 30 days of the birth date.
NHS Resolution will investigate what happened. If the injury was because of negligent medical care, the ENS will provide a written apology, financial support and practical advice on how to access support in caring for your child.
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How Can The ENS Help Me And My Family?
A brain injury can leave your child with complex medical and care needs for the rest of their life. The ENS can help you get the advice, financial support, and medical care you need as soon as possible. It can also give you answers about what happened, and a written apology from those responsible.
Medical negligence investigations are complex, especially when dealing with brain injuries in young children. The investigation is often the most time-consuming part of a compensation claim.
The ENS will start an investigation within 30 days so they may come to a conclusion quicker than an external investigation.
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Can I Still Get Independent Legal Advice?
Yes. Even if the ENS investigates your case, you can still get independent legal advice. This can be very helpful to explain how a birth injury investigation works and how compensation is calculated.
While your ENS investigation is happening, our lawyers will work with you to investigate that all aspects of your child’s injury and its consequences. This includes how your child’s brain injury could affect their future development so that this is considered when calculating how much compensation you should get.
Find out how we can help you by filling out our online form, we’ll then call you back for a confidential chat about your situation.
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How Can Irwin Mitchell Help?
Birth injuries are complex and it’s helpful to have someone by your side to explain the ENS process. Our lawyers can represent you from beginning to end and make sure the investigation considers all your child’s needs.
By choosing us, you can also access a range of other services that can support you and your family. This includes your own support and rehabilitation coordinators. Our support and rehabilitation coordinators are clinical specialists and understand how medical care and rehabilitation can make all the difference to your child’s life. They’ll connect you with the right type of support groups that can help your child while they grow up.
If you do get compensation through the ENS, we can help you manage it so it lasts. Our Asset Management team can help you set up a personal injury trust that will protect your compensation. We can also act as trustees of your trust, together with you. This way we can always be on hand to advise on the best way to spend your compensation for your child.
Our solicitors understand how devastating it can be to deal with a serious birth injury to your child at what should be a happy time. You can rest assured that we’ll do everything we can to make sure your child is looked after and gets the right amount of support.
Contact our medical negligence team to talk about how we can help you. Call us on 0800 121 6567.
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What Type Of Injuries Are Investigated By The ENS?
A child must fall into one of the following categories for the ENS to investigate what happened:
1. A diagnosis of Grade 3 Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy (HIE) – when the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen and blood flow for a period of time.
2. Babies who are therapeutically cooled through active cooling – this is a procedure that helps prevent HIE by cooling the baby’s temperature down to 33 degrees Celsius.
3. A baby is born with hypotonia, is comatose or has seizures at birth – hypotonia means that babies are born with a decreased muscle tone and can sometimes be ‘floppy’ when they’re born.
These conditions often lead to a diagnosis of cerebral palsy which is the most common birth injury. Symptoms of cerebral palsy vary from child to child and can include:
- Problems with movement and coordination such as clumsy, uncontrolled or random movements
- Delays in physical and mental development
- The body seeming too stiff or too floppy
- Weak arms or legs.
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What Can Compensation Pay For?
If you receive compensation, you can use it to pay for any care and support your child needs. This could include:
- Specialist therapies and treatments – your child may need therapy for most of their life to help them with any physical or mental disabilities that could come with a brain injury
- Carers or aids to help them – carers can be vital in sharing some of the caring responsibilities involved with a brain injury and allow parents to have a break from care duties
- Specialist equipment they may need – your child may need equipment like a wheelchair or crutches to help them get around if they have any physical impairments.
- Adaptions to your home – making it easier for your child to move around your home can help your child feel more confident and comfortable.
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What Can I Do If The ENS Rejects My Case?
If the ENS rejected your case because your child’s injury doesn’t fall into the right category, we could still help you make a birth injury claim.
We’ll thoroughly investigate your situation to see if your child received sub-standard medical care. We’ll also get a medical expert to examine your medical records. They’ll give us a detailed report on what happened and if they think your child should have received better care.
If you’d like to discuss your situation, contact us today on 0800 121 6567 or fill out our online form and we’ll call you back.
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The above information relates to the law in England and Wales.
All Scottish cases will be handled by the Scottish law firm with which we are associated, Irwin Mitchell Scotland LLP. The law relating to funding is different in Scotland and you will receive separate advice about what that means as well as a separate funding agreement.