NHS Staff PPE Equipment Compensation Claims

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NHS Staff PPE Equipment Claims – Lack Of Coronavirus PPE Equipment Compensation Guide

I Contracted Coronavirus Working For The NHS, Could I Claim If I Was Not Provided With PPE?

There can be no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 took the National Health Service (NHS) by surprise. Yet despite this, the NHS responded to the challenge well and saved many lives. However, some of these lives were saved at the expense of the health of doctors and nurses treating coronavirus victims. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was initially in short supply and this put medical professionals at risk of infection at times. This online guide relates directly to this risk, as it covers the process of making NHS staff PPE equipment claims.

NHS staff PPE equipment claims guideMedical professionals who became infected themselves whilst treating coronavirus victims could be able to make a personal injury claim against the NHS for non-compliance with safety protocols due to ineffective PPE. If you caught coronavirus whilst working as a medical professional treating coronavirus sufferers, you can call our team on 0800 073 8804 to learn how to claim. An expert will go over your claim with you and explain how a personal injury lawyer could be able to assist you with your claim.

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A Guide To Covid-19 Related NHS Staff PPE Equipment Claims

This online guide is intended to assist NHS staff by explaining why they may be in a position to make a compensation claim if they contracted coronavirus while at work. Primarily, we will be looking at how a lack of or inadequate COVID-19 personal protective equipment could be the reason for infections in these cases, and why. We start this claim with a general introduction to what the COVID-19 pandemic was. This will act as a kind of primer to the claims process.

The next part of this guide provides background information on the safety controls that the NHS operates to minimize infections amongst staff. We show how general public health guidelines also apply to medical professionals and also look at the additional guidelines for medical professionals using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). We also cover PPE-specific safety including the types of PPE that NHS staff should be provided with, and how to safely put on and take off PPE. Lastly in this section, we cover testing NHS staff for infections.

This guide moves on to cover some legal aspects of the claims process and aims to answer the question, “could an NHS employee make a claim for contracting COVID-19 due to not being provided with adequate PPE?” We back this section up with a case study that supports it.

The last part of this guide relates to some of the financial considerations of making a claim. You will find an example compensation table that shows the possible range of compensation a claimant might receive based on the severity of their illness. This table is followed up with a list of some of the types of damages that are more frequently claimed for. Finally, we explain how NHS staff could use a No Win No Fee lawyer to make a claim against their employer, and at the same time minimise the financial risks of doing so.

As long as you are within the personal injury claims time limit, you could be in a position to make a claim if you caught coronavirus whilst working as a medical professional for the NHS during the pandemic. To find out what this time limit will be and to get answers to any questions you have, please contact our claims team on the phone number at the bottom of the page.

What Is The Coronavirus Pandemic?

In late 2019, a handful of people became ill in the Wuhan province of China. They had contracted a new strain of coronavirus. Known strains of coronavirus at this time included both SARS and MERS. By early 2020 the virus had begun to spread around the world, and by the end of March, international travel had almost dried up completely. The virus that caused this unprecedented reaction would later be given the name COVID-19.

Like every other country, the UK implemented controls to stop people from spreading the disease, and this included enforced isolation, as well as social distancing for people who could not isolate. Amongst the latter group were most NHS workers who were required to go into work during the coronavirus pandemic.

By the end of April, the number of deaths occurring each day around the world had peaked. And at the time of this guide being written, there had been 16,412,815 cases of COVID-19 globally, resulting in 652,039 deaths. For a while, the UK was one of the most highly infected countries with a very high death rate. Amongst these victims were some of the doctors and nurses that patients relied upon to care for them through their brush with the illness, even though NHS staff were required to wear personal protective equipment for COVID-19.

Despite these safety measures, many infections still occurred. This guide looks at how NHS staff who became infected with coronavirus might be able to claim compensation from their employer.

Infection Control Guidelines For NHS Staff

The use of personal protective equipment for coronavirus by NHS staff was one of the primary safety measures intended to protect them from infection. However, alongside COVID PPE guidance, the general infection guidelines were also an important part of the overall infection control system. These applied to NHS workers who suspected or knew that they had been infected themselves. The full text of these guidelines covers several pages, but the basics of the infection control process are:

  • Comply with stay at home requirements.
  • If off-duty, the NHS employee should not go into work and must notify their manager of this straight away.
  • If the NHS employee is at work when symptoms begin to manifest, they must put on a surgical mask straight away before telling their manager, then going home to isolate.
  • Arrange a COVID-19 test through their employer.

This basic procedure was intended to minimise the chance of infected workers infecting patients or their colleagues.

Public Health England And NHS Coronavirus PPE Guidelines

In the previous section, we covered the infection control process that the guidelines published by the NHS included. However, this was a much broader document that laid out the full plan for enabling NHS staff to continue working safely through the coronavirus pandemic. It included sections covering:

  • How infected staff or those with symptoms should be managed.
  • A definition of the procedure for testing NHS staff.
  • Details of the plan to provide NHS workers with temporary hotel accommodation to segregate them from the general population.
  • Guidelines on what PPE to wear and how, such as a surgical mask, a plastic apron and gloves.
  • Additional information related to PPE usage such as appropriate workwear, removing facial hair, how PPE can be affected by heat stress, and the general supply of equipment.

Despite these comprehensive measures, a considerable number of NHS staff became ill whilst treating COVID-19 victims, and tragically, a number of these infected medical professionals died. If any infected NHS staff could prove that their employer was to blame for them becoming infected in some way, then personal injury claims could be possible.

When Should PPE Be Worn By NHS Staff?

PPE is only effective when it is being worn. Therefore, it is important that medical professionals prepare and don their equipment such as NHS PPE eye protection at the right time. Even equipment with the highest NHS PPE specifications will not be effective unless it is put on before the medical professional is exposed to a risk of infection.

NHS guidelines state that when a medical professional walks onto a cohort ward, they should wear a surgical mask. If they intend to approach a patient closer than two metres, they must also be wearing eye protection, an apron, and gloves.

Whenever a patient is undergoing medical treatment that could be classed as an aerosol-generating procedure, then all medical staff in attendance must be wearing Level 2 PPE. The same is true of staff working in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and on a respiratory ward.

What PPE Should NHS Staff Be Issued With?

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is safety equipment that the employee is responsible for using themselves. All staff should be trained in the use of relevant PPE and a suitable supply of PPE that meets quality standards should be kept by employees.

For NHS employees, there are primarily two levels of PPE that they have to use, depending on circumstances. Level 1 PPE and Level 2 PPE. These consist of:

  • PPE Level 1 – A minimum of an FFP2 mask, a disposable apron, a pair of single skinned gloves and eye protection.
  • PPE Level 2 – A minimum of an FFP3 mask with a respirator, a pair of double-skinned gloves, a fluid repellent gown with long sleeves, and eye protection.

This information is included in the NHS guidelines discussed in the previous section. If an NHS worker cannot use the correct PPE because it is not available, or is faulty, then they could have the basis of a claim if they become infected.

Guidelines For Safely Putting On And Taking Off PPE Equipment

To minimise the risk of infection, it is important to ensure that PPE is put on properly and then removed in a way that will prevent the wearer from being infected by contaminated, used PPE.

When putting on PPE:

First, fit the FFP2 mask or FFP3 respirator and make sure it fits properly, put on the long-sleeved fluid-resistant gown or disposable apron, put on single or double skinned gloves, put on eye protection.

When taking off PPE:

Before leaving the preparation room, remove any visor and also gloves (by rolling them down) and then place everything in an orange bin (clinical waste). Then wash hands thoroughly and dry them.

After leaving the preparation room to go elsewhere, take off the face mask and put it in a clinical waste bin. If a hood was used, then it should be cleaned using a Clinell wipe or similar. Wash hands thoroughly again and dry them.

If an NHS employee were to become ill because they did not follow these processes, then if the NHS can prove the employee received adequate training, a claim may not be valid.

I Work For The NHS, Could I Be tested for Covid-19

NHS staff who have isolated at home and suspect themselves of being infected by coronavirus should all be tested within three days of the symptoms manifesting themselves. If the test is negative the employee can go back to work.

Furthermore, employers (including the NHS itself) can indicate members of staff that they feel need to be tested through the employer test referral process.

Finally, any medical professional that wishes to, can refer themselves for a COVID-19 test. Results will be shared with their employer if appropriate.

There Was An Inadequate Supply Of PPE, Could I Claim If I Got Covid-19?

NHS staff should be provided with personal protective equipment for COVID-19 if their job requires it. The PPE must be of suitable quality and the employee must have received proper training in using it.

If PPE is not available, is substandard, or the employee has not received adequate training in using it, then if they become infected the company (the NHS in this scenario) could be liable.

Case Study – NHS Doctor Who Died After Warning About A Lack Of PPE

To demonstrate the seriousness of ineffective or unavailable PPE, we can look at the case of a 53-year-old doctor who died in early 2020. Five days before he was admitted to hospital with coronavirus symptoms, he had appealed to his employer to provide him with the proper PPE needed to protect himself (and others) from the risk of infection.

Prior to this appeal, the doctor had been treating patients without using PPE and it is suspected that he contracted the illness whilst doing this. Had proper PPE been available from the start, this life might have been saved.

Source: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-52242516

NHS Staff PPE Equipment Claims Compensation Claims Calculator

Rather than use a personal injury claims calculator to get an estimate of the value of your claim, the table below is based on the Judicial College Guidelines, a document used by solicitors to value claims. You can look up the possible range of compensation you could receive for a variety of injuries.

Health IssueLevel of severityRange of CompensationAdditional Information
IllnessMinor£860 to £3,710A medical condition such as an illness, that would manifest only minor symptoms, all of which would dissipate within a few weeks at most. Treatment might include prescription medication, and the patient would be at home during recovery.
IllnessModerate£3,710 to £8,950A medical condition such as an illness, that would manifest moderate symptoms, which will mostly clear up within a few weeks, but there may be ongoing, lingering symptoms that last up to two years. After diagnosis, the patient may need to stay in hospital initially for treatment, but would recuperate at home after this.
IllnessSerious£8,950 to £18,020A medical condition such as an illness, that would manifest serious symptoms, which could mostly clear up within four weeks. However, it is likely that the patient will be left suffering from long-term or permanent symptoms that will lower their life quality in the future. Hospitalisation may have been required for the duration of the illness.
IllnessSevere£36,060 to £49,270A medical condition such as an illness, that would manifest severe symptoms, that may eventually, lead to death. The patient would be hospitalised and may have to undergo traumatic treatment such as being put on a ventilator to assist breathing. The patient’s overall health will be impacted, and recovery may take a long time. There is a high likelihood of ongoing symptoms, possibly permanently, that will affect the patient’s life quality.

If you want a more accurate estimate of the level of compensation you might receive when you make your claim, please call our team. One of our advisors will be able to organise for a solicitor to value your claim for you.

Special Damages Which NHS Staff Could Claim

If an NHS employee wins their claim against their employer, they will receive a settlement that is potentially made up of a number of different kinds of damages. 

General damages that you receive will all be paid for some kind of physical or psychological suffering you went through. The amount of compensation that you receive will be calculated based on how much pain and suffering you went through, whether you had any long-term symptoms or whether you will be permanently impaired in the future and the kind of treatment you received. General damages account for:

  • Permanent disability or long-term impairment.
  • Reduced quality of life.
  • Psychological injuries such as depression or anxiety.
  • Being subjected to traumatic treatment.
  • General pain and suffering.

Special damages are paid to the claimant for financial losses and other non-physical losses. Any claimant that wants to try and claim back costs that have already been incurred will need to provide proof of spending by keeping receipts, invoices and bills. Special damages might be paid for:

  • Loss of long-term earnings and work opportunities.
  • Lost income if your salary/wages was withheld due to taking time away from work.
  • The cost of paying for private medical treatment.
  • The cost of hiring a nurse or carer to take care of you at home.
  • Out of pocket expenses. For example, train or bus tickets to medical appointments.

These are some of the more commonly seen types of damages but there are many more. If you want to check which damages might apply to your claim, call our team today.

No Win No Fee NHS Staff PPE Equipment Claims

Using a No Win No Fee legal service will provide you with the legal expertise you need and also lower the financial risk of making a claim. Your solicitor will not charge a fee to take your claim on or while they are working on it. If the claim fails, they still won’t ask you to pay their fee.

When the claim is a success, the solicitor might ask you to pay a small success fee, which is legally capped. This can be collected out of the compensation payment they have received for you.

Start Your Claim

As an employee of the NHS, were you infected by the coronavirus due to faulty, ineffective or unavailable personal protective equipment for COVID-19? If so, we could be able to help you make a compensation claim. Please contact our claims team on 0800 073 8804. An expert advisor will talk you through our new claims process, evaluate your claim for you, and answer any questions you have.

Essential References

These external links might have good information:

The NHS Safety Policy

Quality & Safety In Healthcare

General Health And Safety At Work Information

These other guides might be worth looking over:

Work-Related Illness Claims

Time Limits For NHS Claims

How To Claim Against The NHS

 

 

Guide by Wheeler

Edited by Billing

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