Sailing with the Wind of Change: AvMA’s Five Year Strategy to Champion Patient Safety and Justice.

Last week, the charity Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA) launched its five year strategy for improving patient safety and justice from 2024 - 2029. The strategy aims to transform trust in healthcare providers and improve the lives of people who have suffered avoidable medical harm. Their strategy focuses on four key objectives:

  • Expand the range of communities receiving AvMA’s services
  • Empower more people to secure the outcomes they need following medical harm
  • Eliminate compounded harm following medical harm
  • Ensure diversity of suitable resources and capacities to deliver patient safety and justice

As AvMA’s vision for championing patient safety through its campaigning and support is established for the next five years, this blog will answer:

  • Who are AvMA
  • What is it that AvMA does
  • Why the work of AvMA matters

Who are AvMA?

Created in 1982, AvMA are the only UK charity who are dedicated solely to supporting victims and their families who have suffered medical harm. AvMA campaigns to ensure that high levels of patient safety incidents do not become a norm. AvMA supports those victims of avoidable medical harm through access to reliable services and resources, ensuring that their harm is resolved. They are active in seeking to create change and improve lives. As such, for any person who has suffered medical negligence, they are a crucial resource of guidance and support.

What does AvMA do?

AvMA campaigns on a non-political platform to improve patient safety and justice by working with healthcare providers, the NHS, government, and lawyers. Its campaigns have had a ripple effect on the state of patient safety in the UK. For example, for over 20 years AvMA was critical in campaigning to introduce a statutory duty of candour which finally became a law in 2014. The duty of candour created a legal duty for healthcare providers to be open and honest with patients and their families when something has gone wrong that has, or appears to have, caused significant harm. AvMA’s role in campaigning for this change has created a better culture of accountability and trust.

The AvMA Helpline provides a frontline resource of advice and support for those who are trying to navigate the complexities of seeking patient justice. The over 100 strong team of volunteers provide sensitive, supportive, and practical advice on the next steps for those callers to the helpline and has proved to be a valuable tool in setting people on the path to resolution.

AvMA’s annual conferences bring leaders in the medical and legal fields together to share understanding and knowledge in order to provide the highest levels of advice and support to those who are going through the process of seeking to obtain justice and resolution for their clients. These annual conferences also bring together members of the legal profession, demonstrating the thriving community of caring and supportive people who dedicate their lives to transforming the lives of others.

Navigating the maze of seeking resolution for avoidable medical harm is incredibly complex - both from a legal and medical view. AvMA’s specialist clinical negligence panel brings together a panel of lawyers who are recognised as specialists in the field of clinical negligence law. This provides potential claimants with a resource of specialist lawyers who are recognised for their high quality and client facing focus. At Lanyon Bowdler, we are very privileged to currently have three members who are accredited as clinical negligence specialists by AvMA:

  • Beth Heath, Head of the Clinical Negligence Team, is recognised as a leading individual in The Legal 500 and was awarded Clinical Negligence Lawyer of the Year in the 2022 PI awards. She is the lead solicitor in the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust maternity scandal and combines specialist knowledge with an emphasis on compassion and caring for her clients.
  • Lucy Small, a leading individual in The Legal 500 and Band 1 rated clinical negligence lawyer in the Chambers rankings, has over 25 years of experience and is known for complex high value clinical negligence claims including birth/bran injury, catastrophic orthopaedic and spinal claims, oncology, and complex fatal claims including preventable suicide and attempted suicide. Her professionalism and knowledge is twinned with honest and open advice that makes her clients feels like they are being looked after.
  • Emma Broomfield, a leading individual in The Legal 500 and Band 1 rated clinical negligence lawyer in the Chambers rankings, possesses a wide range of experience in cerebal palsy, catastrophic brain injury, spinal injury, and cancer cases with over 20 years of clinical negligence experience. She combines her highly intelligent approach with a drive and determination to help those who have suffered medical negligence.

Why the work of AvMA matters

As the five year strategy moves forward, AvMA’s work is very important for those who have suffered from avoidable medical harm. AvMA’s support and guidance have supported many people gain strength and direction in moving forward from events which never should have happened in the first place.

AvMA brings together specialists to enable those victims to receive appropriate support from recognised leaders. Its campaigns have and will keep improving the healthcare system through accountability on those incidents where the standards have fallen below what they should be.

It will be for the benefit of all to see AvMA’s vision become a reality for all those who seek patient safety and justice. You can read more about AvMA’s five year strategy here

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