Julia Niblett, a Solicitor in the Clinical Negligence department has been volunteering on the helpline run by the charity AvMA (Action against medical accidents) for two years. AvMA is the charity for patient safety and justice in the UK. The charity campaigns to improve patient safety and reduce medical accidents, and also works tirelessly to ensure access to justice for people who have suffered when a medical accident does happen.
Volunteering on the helpline involves Julia answering telephone calls from people who have potentially been affected by medical negligence, who don’t know where to turn:
I am able to speak with them and provide them with information on the next steps, be it making a complaint or bringing a legal claim. I am also able to signpost them to organisations which may be able to help them. I have frequently received feedback from callers at the end of the call that they had initially been distressed and confused about what to do next, but that the advice given on the helpline has reassured them and given them clarity as to how they wish to proceed.
I feel very lucky that I am able to use the knowledge and experience I have from my job as a clinical negligence solicitor to help those in the very early stages after a medical accident has happened.
Often on the helpline, she is asked questions about how bringing a legal claim works, what you need to prove and how the claim will be funded. Often people are worried they will not be able to afford it. Julia is able to explain to callers the process of bringing a clinical negligence claim and discuss potential funding options with them, so that when they come to contact a solicitor they are aware of at least the basics of what will happen next.
It is a privilege to be able to be able to support callers through what is often a very stressful time and makes me feel like I am making a real difference to their situation.