The Supreme Court has now considered an unusual case, Darnley v Croydon Health Services NHS Trust.
This was unusual because the Supreme Court found that the receptionist provided misleading information, and this was enough to sustain an allegation of negligence against the hospital.
Mr Darnley attended hospital after receiving a head injury following an assault. The reception staff said he may have to wait four or five hours to be seen. What the receptionist failed to say is that he would be seen by a triage nurse within 30 minutes.
Mr Darnley left 19 minutes later but became very ill soon afterwards. He suffered life long injuries. Had he stayed and been triaged within 30 minutes, he would not.
Supreme Court felt that the receptionist in omitting the information about the triage assessment fell below a reasonable standard and Mr Darnley was successful in receiving damages for his injury.