While MRSA is unlikely to harm healthy people, it can cause serious infection and even death in vulnerable individuals.
If you were infected with MRSA as a result of poor procedures or negligence on the part of hospital staff, we believe that you should be able to claim compensation for the harm you have suffered.
However, it has proved to be very difficult to bring traditional compensation claims for negligently transmitted MRSA infections because it is nearly impossible to tell exactly where and when and how a person may have been infected.
Change of Approach
Because of this many compensation lawyers have taken a new approach, and are pursuing the NHS in MRSA claims by using legislation more common to industrial disputes.
The legislation in question is the Control of Substances Harmful to Health Regulations (COSHH), which requires employers to control exposure to hazardous substances to prevent ill health. The argument goes that MRSA comes under such a definition and if it applies to staff it should also apply to patients in hospitals.
In a landmark ruling in 2008, Lady Clark agreed, holding that the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 1999 Regulations (now superseded by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 2002 Regulations) not only apply to employees in the Health Service but also to patients.
This means that the Health Service now has to show that it took all reasonably practicable steps in terms of the regulations to protect patients. The regulations go far beyond the duty of reasonable care and common law of the NHS, and should make compensation claims easier to prove.