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A landmark ruling in the case of Darnley V Croydon Health Services NHS Trust has been made in the Supreme Court.

The case involved Mr Darnley, who attended at A&E following a head injury. Mr Darnley was advised by the reception staff that the wait would be five hours and as a result decided to return home.

The receptionist had a very unhelpful attitude, witnessed by his friend who had attended A&E with him. Both advised the receptionist that Mr Darnley had suffered a head injury, was in pain and felt generally unwell, as though he was going to collapse. He was advised that he would have to wait 4-5 hours but if he collapsed he would be seen urgently. He therefore went home and shortly after suffered significant symptoms, medical attention being called by his family. He had suffered an irreparable, life changing brain injury.

A claim for damages was made on the basis the medical evidence showed that had Mr Darnley, the Claimant, remained in hospital and been seen in a reasonable time he would have had a near complete recovery.

The claim was unsuccessful on the basis that the reception staff were not medically trained and could therefore not be held responsible. However on appeal the Supreme Court have now found that the Trust were at fault meaning that the claim for damages can proceed.

The ruling, handed down this month, has opened the floodgates for future claims, Claimants now being entitled to claim where they received inappropriate advice from unqualified staff at GP surgeries and hospitals.

Our team of specialist solicitors has a great deal of experience in dealing with hospital negligence claims. If you feel you may have been affected in a similar manner then please contact the team by calling 0800 804 7450, or fill out our online enquiry form.