Cassidy -v- Ministry of Health; CA 1951

References: [1951] 2 KB 343
Coram: Denning LJ, Somervell LJ, Singleton LJ
The court considered the liability in negligence of the respondent for the negligence of doctors employed by it.
Held: The Ministry was liable for the negligence of doctors who were employed by it on contracts of service.
Denning LJ (dissenting) said that: ‘whenever they accept a patient for treatment, they must use reasonable care and skill to cure him of his ailment. The hospital authorities cannot, of course, do it by themselves: they have no ears to listen through the stethoscope, and no hands to hold the surgeon’s knife. They must do it by the staff which they employ; and if their staff are negligent in giving the treatment, they are just as liable for that negligence as is anyone else who employs others to do his duties for him.’ and ‘where a person is himself under a duty to use care, he cannot get rid of his responsibility by delegating the performance of it to someone else, no matter whether the delegation be to a servant under a contract of service or to an independent contractor under a contract for services.’
This case cites:

  • Applied – Gold -v- Essex County Council CA ([1942] 2 KB 293)
    The hospital was held accountable for an injury caused by negligence of an employee radiographer. The main issue was whether the authority could be vicariously liable even for employees in cases where their employment called for the exercise of . .

This case is cited by:

  • Cited – A -v- Ministry of Defence and another QBD (Times 16-May-03, Gazette 03-Jul-03)
    The claimant’s father a member of the armed forces had been posted to Germany, and his wife, A’s mother had gone with him. A had been born in Germany, but suffered injury at birth through the negligence of the doctor’s appointed by the defendant . .
  • Cited – Farraj and Another -v- King’s Healthcare NHS Trust (KCH) and Another CA (Bailii, [2009] EWCA Civ 1203, (2010) 11 BMLR 131, [2010] PIQR P7, [2010] Med LR 1)
    The claimant parents each carried a gene making any child they bore liable to suffer a serious condition. On a pregnancy the mother’s blood was sent for testing to the defendants who sent it on to the second defendants. The condition was missed, . .
  • Cited – Woodland -v- Essex County Council CA (Bailii, [2012] EWCA Civ 239, [2013] 3 WLR 853, [2012] ELR 327, [2012] Med LR 419, [2012] PIQR P12, [2012] BLGR 879)
    The claimant had been injured in a swimming pool during a lesson. The lesson was conducted by outside independent contractors. The claimant appealed against a finding that his argument that they had a non-delegable duty of care was bound to fail. . .

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