Eligibility of non-residents for NHS treatment: Duty of easy rescue has become clouded

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.329.7467.684 (Published 16 September 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:684
  1. Rory O'Conor (rory.oconor{at}ewpct.nhs.uk), consultant in public health
  1. Public Health Directorate, Eastern Wakefield Primary Care Trust, Castleford and Normanton District Hospital, Castleford WF10 5LT

    EDITOR—The duty of easy rescue described in the article by Pollard and Savulescu seems to have become more cloudy since the negligence lawyers got involved.1

    Once upon a time people would not have hesitated to act, but now most people, especially professionals, will reflect and consider whether they might expose themselves to legal action. If I pass a road crash I will do the minimum necessary to sustain life and check that adequate resources are available and then slip away as soon as any competent formal professionals arrive. I am not worried about getting my shoes wet or other inconvenience to myself. I am worried about being sued for large sums of money when I try my inadequate best to offer assistance. It is not clear that the lawyers have benefited anyone.


    • Competing interests None declared.


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