APIL Annual residential Clinical Negligence Conference

Posted by Patricia Wakeford, 14th October 2019
Clinical and Medical Negligence specialists Kym Provan, Partner and Patricia Wakeford, Legal Director attended the APIL Conference that was an enjoyable and informative event which was held at the Hilton Brighton Metropole over 2-4 October 2019. They always enjoy the opportunity to catch up with colleagues from other firms and to learn from eminent practitioners; both within the law and medicine.

This year’s conference focused on gastrointestinal issues. Professor Marc Winslet, Emeritus Professor of Surgery and Honorary Consultant Surgeon, gave the first lecture. Apparently he last spoke at this conference 10 years ago. It was a very amusing and informative journey from the oesophagus (gullet) through the bowel to the anus. Who would have thought that there was a sphincter of Oddi?

Mr Nicholas Lees is a Consultant General, Colorectal and Intestinal Failure Surgeon. He discussed improving surgical standards and patient care, usurping democracy or arming lawyers. He wants services to work together and have centres of excellence. Standards are improving, but he said that it takes time to encourage changes.

Dr Zak Rahman talked about liver and pancreatic disorders and Professor Graeme Poston showed us some very interesting photographs and a video of what can go wrong with bile duct surgery. Apparently, there are various anatomical variants of the bile duct and surrounding anatomy. You would want your surgeon to be sure that he knew which you had before commencing surgery.

Dr Giles Maskell discussed the dark art of diagnostic imaging from 1895 to date. The main messages were that interpretation of images should always be carried out in the light of clinical findings, the abdominal x-ray is unreliable (that was quite a surprise to me), interpretation is fraught with cognitive bias (scary) and there is often more on the scan than you have been asked to consider and a lot of information anyway to consider in a short time.

Day two started with a talk from Miss Karen Nugent who is a local Consultant General Surgeon. She talked about anorectal disorders that did have a few of us squirming in our seats. This was followed by Brian Dawson from Trust Mediation Ltd London who explained the NHS Mediation scheme and the steps that should be taken for all involved to get the best out of the process. It can give a Claimant an opportunity to say how they have been affected by those who were involved with his or her care. The mediator is independent and works between the parties to see if a mutually agreeable conclusion can be reached. It was interesting to note that the mediator’s fee is paid by NHS Resolution if liability is admitted or the Claimant is unrepresented.

Mr Abeezar Sarela, Consultant Surgeon talked about the acute abdomen and the changes in diagnosis and treatment of appendicitis. Do you treat conservatively with antibiotics or operate? Is it open surgery or a laparoscopy? Many questions that the admitting clinicians need to consider.

Sally Hatfield QC and Mary Ruck both of Byrom Street Chambers provided an excellent legal update which considered many topics from breach of duty to inquest funding.

The conference speakers concluded with Professor David Jayne who whisked everyone in to the future to discuss Future Potential and Developments in the Pipeline.

There was plenty of time to discuss the lectures with good coffee and food and an excellent networking event on the Wednesday evening and a formal dinner on Thursday evening provided by the various event sponsors including Wealthflow, Hayes Medical, ILS, VFS legal Funding, Premier Specialist and Frenkel Topping. It was another excellent and enjoyable event which left Kym and Patricia with plenty to think about on the way home.

Please do not hesitate to contact our Clinical and Medical Negligence team for expert advice in this area.

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