Does the Early Notification Scheme cover all brain injuries at birth?

No. There are three categories that the ENS can work on:

1. grade 3 Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy (HIE) – which is if the baby’s brain is deprived of sufficient oxygen and blood flow;

2. babies who were therapeutically cooled by a clinician using active cooling – this can prevent HIE by lowering the baby’s temperature to 33 degrees Celsius; and

3. circumstances in which the baby is comatose or has seizures or has hypotonia (decreased muscle tone), which can cause them to be ‘floppy’.

Information about the categories are available on the NHS Resolution website, here.

Is cerebral palsy covered by the Early Notification Scheme (ENS)?

Cerebral palsy is a common birth injury in the UK, but it is complex to diagnose its cause. Cerebral palsy may be diagnosed as a result of one of the circumstances listed in the three ENS categories, but at least one of those must be present for the ENS to apply.

Cerebral palsy is caused by an injury to the brain which can occur: if the brain fails to develop normally in the womb; or if there is a problem during the birth, or just after the baby is born. Establishing the precise cause of cerebral palsy is complex, and you should always seek specialist legal advice if your child has suffered a brain injury around the time of his or her birth.

What if my child’s case is not eligible for the Early Notification Scheme?

If this has happened, it is because the brain injury that your child suffered at birth, wasn’t within one of the three categories that the ENS covers.  However, this is not a barrier to making a medical negligence claim. 

Call us so we can help you find out what happened, and if there are grounds for a medical negligence case, claim for financial compensation to support you and your child.  

How does compensation help?

If your baby has sustained a brain injury, this is of course extremely upsetting. While compensation cannot directly make that better, it can help immensely with the practicalities of day-to-day life. Once funds have been secured, you can pay for the care you child will need, which is likely to include: 

  • Medical treatment and/or physical therapies 
  • A package of care 
  • equipment, such as a wheelchair or specialist computers for communicating
  • Building work to adapt your house so it is suitable for your child’s needs, so that they can move around freely as they grow older.
What Is the NHS Early Notification Scheme (ENS)?

The NHS Early Notification Scheme was introduced in 2017 by NHS Resolution, a legal division of the NHS that work on complaints and claims for medical negligence.

The intention of the ENS is to investigate what happened when a child suffers a potentially serious brain injury around the time of his or her birth. The aim is to do this quickly when memories of the events are clear in people’s minds, and in turn to reduce stress on the families concerned.

Doctors and other medical staff must report any case of a child being born in circumstances which could cause a brain injury, to their hospital’s legal team where the birth occurred. The case is then referred to NHS Resolution. If the case fits the criteria, it will be investigated under the ENS. Even though the intention is for investigations to take place as quickly as possible, unfortunately they can take a long time due to the complexities of each individual’s case.

If the medical staff in the NHS Trust are found to be have been negligent, the ENS will give the family a formal written apology. In addition, a package of financial support and advice regarding next steps in caring for the child will be agreed. If you have been contacted in relation to the ENS, it is vital that you seek independent, specialist legal advice. 

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Can you create a will whilst in self-isolation?

Coronavirus and Wills

During this very curious and rather worrying time, it may be that you have turned your mind to sorting out the ‘to-do’ list.  “Get Will done” is often one of those things that’s been languishing at the bottom of the list for many people.

There are various issues to bear in mind with regards to making your Will in the situation we currently find ourselves in, ranging from how to give your instructions to your solicitor when unable to meet face to face, to having the Will witnessed. How is one supposed to do that while self-isolating or if you are in the category of most vulnerable people who should avoid leaving their house or proximity with others?

Here’s the bit about signing!  

You do have the sign the document yourself – electronic signatures are not accepted on Wills. You also need the signatures of two witnesses. The witnesses should be physically present – except where using the temporary relaxation to the law permitting witnessing by video conference mentioned below.

To obtain the needed signatures, there are various ways this can be done in the current challenging circumstances. For example, it may be that the witnesses could view the signing through a window in view of you and each other. 

The witnessing requirements are being relaxed to allow witnessing by video conference, although this is subject to complex requirements. We can supervise completion of Wills we prepare by video conference where appropriate.

When we send you your draft Will, we’ll include specific information about how to make sure it is completed correctly so that it will be valid.

Rules about witnesses

The rules state that the witnesses must:

  • be present at the time of signing (and they should be physically present except where relying on the temporary rules about witnessing by video conference mentioned above)
  • sign the Will to confirm they saw you (the Testator) sign
  • not be a beneficiary of any assets in the Will otherwise this makes the Will invalid
  • be of sound mind and know what they are witnessing (however they don’t need to see the contents of the Will)
  • be over the age of 18
  • be regarded as independent i.e. they must not be close relatives.

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What is inheritance tax?

it is a tax on your estate (your assets) that may be liable for inheritance tax when you die. Usually, if your house, money and other belongings are worth less than £325,000 you don’t pay. If you’re married or in a civil partnership, the threshold goes up to £650,000 on the second death; after that it’s usually a flat rate tax of 40%. It’s tempting to think this is a tax only for the wealthy, but with house prices as they are today you might want to think again. From 6th April 2017, there is an additional allowance being introduced.  It starts at £100,000 per person which is in addition to the £325,000. There are various criteria to qualify: they include owning a residence which will pass to direct descendants.

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What is a declaration of trust?

What is a declaration of trust?

A declaration of trust is a document that sets out who owns what percentage of a property, so when it's sold everybody knows what they’re entitled to. They’re useful documents if you're an unmarried couple, you've made unequal contributions to buying a house, or loaned somebody else the money to buy or improve a house. 

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What is a legal trust?

A trust is a legal device used as a way of planning for the future and providing protection. You can use a trust to pass your wealth on to your children or grandchildren, to pay for school fees or a care home, or as part of your tax planning. 

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What is incapacity law?

Incapacity law steps in when people can no longer make decisions for themselves. Mental illness, old age or accidents can make every day decisions harder. We might not understand or remember the choices or even be able to communicate a decision. The implications can be severe – for example, on personal finances. If you’re concerned about your own future, or somebody you know is aving trouble making decisions, you should get professional advice. 

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We understand your situation and our expert team are here to help

Get in touch to speak with someone who can help you move forward.

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Tees coronavirus update

We’re open and here to help you. We’re running as normal with our employees all working from home.

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You can call us as normal on 0800 013 1165 or email us: hello@teeslaw.com.

You can also find contact details for all our advisers here. 

As a flexible and technologically-adept firm, we already had many home-working systems in place. We have now rolled this technology out to all our employees working for clients, so they can continue to work normally - and from home.

If you are a client, please be assured you can get in touch with Tees and we are still working on your case. To replace face-to-face meetings, we have the facilities to do video-conferencing, conference calls or just speak on the phone, as you need.

Due to the circumstances, please call us if you would have wanted a home visit, and we can organise the best and safest way of being in touch.

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