Darnley (Appellant) v Croydon Health Services NHS Trust (Respondent)
On appeal from the Court of Appeal Civil Division (England and Wales)
The Appellant went to A&E after receiving a blow to the head. He was told by the receptionist that it would be 4 to 5 hours before he would be seen. This information was incorrect. The system was that a triage nurse would examine the appellant within 30 minutes of arrival and decide how soon he needed to see a doctor. The Appellant waited 19 minutes then decided to go home. A short time after, the triage nurse came to look for him but he was no longer there. The Appellant’s condition deteriorated at home and he returned to hospital by ambulance. He underwent neurosurgery but by this point it was too late to prevent permanent brain damage resulting in long term disabilities. The Appellant brought a claim for damages against the respondent NHS Trust for injuries caused by negligence of staff at the hospital.
The issue is:
Whether non-clinically trained reception staff at an A&E department owed a tortious duty of care to the Appellant to provide him with accurate information regarding waiting times.
The Supreme Court unanimously allows the appeal and remits the case to the Queen’s Bench Division for assessment of damages.
GMC Chair Prof Sir Terence Stephenson in conversation with Prof Lesley Regan, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
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nhs medical negligence claims