Declining standards of health care: Negligence or misfortune
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Zambia became independent from Britain in 1964 after 40 years of colonial rule. During colonial rule the judicial administration introduced by the British in Northern Rhodesia (as Zambia was then called) through the Royal Charter of incorporation of 1889 followed the general pattern of indirect rule. At independence Zambia inherited the British system of governance and law. Among the laws that Zambia inherited was the common law relating to negligence. During the past few years, many sectors of society have expressed concern over declining standards of health care and an increase in negligence cases especially in government hospitals. According to the Medical Council of Zambia Annual Report, in the year of 2005, out of the 19 complaints reported, there was only one conviction in the case of medical negligence. This work consists of five chapters. Chapter One identifies a number of factors that have contributed to the decline in health-care standards. It has also analyzed whether government has any legal obligation to improve the declining standards of health-care. Chapter Two looks at the doctor patient relationship and the common law principles of negligence Chapter Three analyzed people's attitudes towards litigation and their accessibility to the justice system when it comes to cases of medical negligence. It also discusses the judiciary's response to claims arising from medical malpractice in Zambia. Chapter Four is a comparative analysis of judicial responses to medical negligence cases in other jurisdictions. Chapter five consists of the conclusion and has identified opportunities for reform and made appropriate recommendations.
- Law