What happens if the ENS decides staff were negligent?

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. Our lawyers at Tees can provide you a wide range of support and guidance during the process. At Tees our team of experts will:

  • listen to you
  • ask the hospital questions about what exactly happened
  • obtain medical records and reports from medical experts
  • negotiate a financial settlement suited to your child’s needs
  • provide practical advice and support networking regarding the care of your child
  • provide financial support to manage the compensation to secure the needs of your child for the whole of his or her lifetime.
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. 

Learn more

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Tees coronavirus update

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