The NHS Early Notification Scheme investigates the events surrounding the birth of a child who has suffered potentially severe brain injuries (most commonly cerebral palsy) at birth. This process means families can find out what happened and why, relatively quickly after the birth. An advantage of proceeding under the ENS, is that the facts are fresh in everyone’s minds and it reduces the stress for the family. Where negligence by clinical staff is established, an apology is offered to the family and financial support and advice given to help them care for their child throughout the child’s lifetime. Read more about the Early Notification Scheme here.
Does the Early Notification Scheme cover all brain injuries at birth?
No. Not all cerebral palsy cases fall within the Early Notification Scheme – the Scheme is limited to those that fall within the reporting criteria and guidelines. There are three categories that the ENS can work on:
- grade 3 Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy (HIE) – which is if the baby’s brain is deprived of sufficient oxygen and blood flow;
- 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
- 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.
Birth injury claims that fall outside of this scheme take many more years to investigate. In introducing the Early Notification Scheme, NHS Resolution acknowledges the need for families to avoid going through a lengthy and stressful legal process.
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.
Get specialist, independent legal advice
NHS Resolution expects families to seek independent legal advice. We strongly advise that if you have a baby injured at birth, you seek professional specialist legal advice as soon as possible. This is a complex area of law and you will need expert support to navigate it effectively. Our lawyers at Tees can provide you a wide range of support and guidance during the process.
If the birth of your child is being investigated as part of the NHS Early Notification Scheme – call us. We will be alongside you every step of the way and will fight for the support your child needs now and in the future.
Working out the extent of the brain damage your child has suffered and how that might change in the future is complex. Our legal experts work alongside some of the leading healthcare and accommodation experts in the country to make sure all future eventualities are considered. Our aim is to secure a full financial compensation package to ensure your child’s future needs are met and he or she can achieve his or her full potential.
Funding your claim
Our specialist solicitors will provide an initial free assessment of your claim. We work on a no win, no fee basis or arrange legal aid (where possible), so there’s no need to worry about costs.
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.
Our lawyers work with case managers who will ensure your family has access to support in the community. We can liaise on your behalf with a range of providers who can provide care, rehabilitation and general support; these include a range of charities and public and private care facilities.
Financial support all in one
At Tees we have independent financial advisers who can advise on the management of the compensation fund to make sure there are sufficient assets to provide lifelong care and support for your child. With expert management, the funds can be managed to ensure they don’t run out.
If your child is unlikely to be able to manage their financial and legal affairs in the future, they will need a Court appointed Deputy. This is something we can help with.
We can also help you set up a Personal Injury Trust to manage the money and protect any family entitlement to means tested benefits. If you would like us to, one of our specialist lawyers can be a trustee of this trust (alongside you) so we can continue to support you as you make future decisions.