Long Covid: NHS legal action launched by family of girl

Posted: 19th January 2024

The mother of an 11-year-old Aberdeenshire girl with long Covid has launched a legal action against their health board, in what lawyers claim is the first case of its kind in Scotland.

Helen Goss, from Westhill, is seeking damages from NHS Grampian on behalf of her daughter, Anna Hendy.

The action claims the health board is responsible for “multiple failings” in Anna’s treatment and care.

NHS Grampian said it would not comment on individual patient cases.

The claim alleges failings were avoidable, that they caused Anna “injury and damage”, and led to her condition worsening.

Anna became unwell after contracting Covid in 2020.

She has not been able to return to school, needs the use of a wheelchair, and is often confined to her bed.

The action alleges a number of failings by the health board.

These include claims that requests for Anna to be referred to the specialist paediatric services of immunology and neurology were refused.

It also claims no further help was offered after Anna was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Paediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS).

And it says these failings “could have been avoided had NHS Grampian followed contemporary guidance on diagnosis and treatment”.

It adds: “Your breaches amount to negligence at common law of which damages are claimed.”

Anna’s mother told BBC Scotland News: “I want to make it very clear that this is not about the money, I don’t care about the money.

“What I want is an apology for Anna, and accountability.

“I want the health board to admit that they have failed in their duty of care by not training up their staff to appropriately diagnose and treat patients with long Covid.

“They have destroyed my family over the last four years. There is nothing more they can take from us.”

Ms Goss added: “I don’t want this to happen to other young people.

“People might get the confidence, not only to take legal action, but to keep pushing for treatment.”

Catherine McGarrell, of Thompsons Solicitors, which is representing Ms Goss, said: “As a result of the multiple failings and repeated failures, Anna’s condition is much worse than what it should be, or what it could have been.

“It isn’t a case of she wouldn’t have contracted long Covid, it’s the care in treating the long Covid that’s made it worse.

“After years of completely avoidable failings from the NHS, all Anna needed was someone to take accountability and to start getting the treatment she needs.”

She added: “It’s unfortunate the family are now having to take legal action against NHS Grampian to get the care Anna needs, but they’ve been left with no other choice.

“I’m hopeful NHS Grampian will now listen and finally do the right thing by Anna and her family.”

The health board said it was in the process of creating a new treatment pathway for children affected by the condition.

A new website allowing families to share their experiences of the disease is also in development.

A spokesperson said: “NHS Grampian has a Long Covid Project Board and a Long Covid Paediatric Steering Group which help to inform our work.

“We also now have a paediatric long Covid practitioner as well as a paediatric clinical lead for long Covid. Children who are suffering with symptoms are managed by the appropriate clinicians according to their needs.

“The team is always happy to hear from those who have experienced long Covid, as well as parents and carers, regardless of the severity of their symptoms.”

Source: Long Covid: NHS legal action launched by family of girl – BBC News

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