Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust Compensation Claim

If you have been injured as a result of medical negligence at a hospital within the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust you may be entitled to financial compensation. To speak to an expert about your situation, call Quittance on 0800 612 7456.

Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (2006) case study

A 53 year old health visitor was awarded a total of £40,449.36 for moderately severe depressive illness caused by pressures at work when she had to cover for an absent colleague.

The woman, who was 49 at the time of her injury, sustained a moderately severe depressive illness whilst employed as a health visitor by the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust.

In June 2001, as a result of pressures of work caused by covering for an absent colleague, she fell ill and was absent for approximately 6 months. She returned to work in December 2001 on a phased return to work programme and with a permanent reduction in her contractual hours. No liability was alleged in respect of this initial illness.

By the end of January 2002 she had returned to her normal duties, but in June 2002 one of her colleagues went on long-term sick leave. When she asked for assistance with the workload she was told to arrange cover herself. She was only able to obtain one hour of cover and although she made further requests to management for assistance, these were not responded to.

At the end of June 2002 the Claimant had a relapse of her depressive illness and went off sick.

Although she was not as ill as she had been in 2001, she was tearful, felt worn out, and was unable to carry out normal daily activities. She was treated with anti-depressants and referred for psychological counselling.

On returning to work in August 2002, again on a phased return, she was given assurance that she would not be required to cover any additional caseload for the foreseeable future.

Yet in October 2002, the Claimant was once again required to cover for an absent colleague. This caused a further relapse of her depressive illness and she went off sick in February 2003. This was a far more severe relapse than that of 2002 and she never returned to work.

The relapse prevented her from carrying out normal household tasks and caused her to withdraw socially. She was reliant on her husband and sister for domestic help and was no longer able to participate in her folk singing group. She was treated with anti-depressants and referred to a psychiatrist.

Her employment was terminated in October 2003 on the grounds of ill health.

By April 2006, the time of her trial, her condition had improved significantly and she was able to undertake household tasks. However her confidence was still affected and she had a tendency to be socially withdrawn and had therefore not resumed her social activities.

The Claimant still needed to take anti-depressants and was likely to remain on them long-term.

Judge Henriques found that Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust was liable for the two relapses of the Claimant's depressive illness. Although the prognosis was that her illness to be largely resolved within 6 - 12 months of the completion of litigation, it was stated that she would never be able to undertake stressful occupation or managerial role. She should, however, be able to return to some form of alternative work within 2 years of the end of litigation.

Compensation Settlement

The Claimant was awarded £40,449.36, which included £14,000 (£18,566.92 RPI adjusted) for pain, loss and suffering, and £12,500 for future loss of earnings caused by the injury. (Smith v Manchester).

Making a compensation claim against Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust

Making a claim for medical negligence can seem initially overwhelming. Hospital Trusts are large complex organisations. Just finding out what happened can be complicated.

Our panel of solicitors have significant experience in taking on hospital trusts and securing financial compensation for people affected by clinical or medical negligence.

Call us on 0800 612 7456 to discuss your situation with a claims expert or find out what your claim could be worth.