In this episode, Rosalind English brings together two members of 1 Crown Office Row who have spent their professional lives both claiming against and defending the NHS. James Badenoch QC, now retired, maintains that the existence of these claims is justified by the pressure to improve clinical practice.
David Hart QC provides us with the details of the very considerable figures paid out recently by the NHS in settlements and awards. The source of these figures and others can be found here: NHS Resolution Annual Report and Accounts 2018-2019
This coincides with the BBC’s report following a Freedom of Information request that the NHS “faces paying out £4.3 billion in legal fees to settle outstanding claims in clinical negligence.” Read the report, released today, here.
The vast inflation in damages awards in clinical negligence claims means that the cost to the health services is producing great concern in those who have to address the financial future of the NHS. This is particularly an issue with birth disasters where the life expectancy of the child, however badly damaged, is lengthy and therefore ongoing costs, notably care costs, stretch long into the future.
In May 2019, former Court of Appeal judge Rupert Jackson proposed a series of solutions to this problem, including replacing the principle of full compensation with a system of tariffs . This may be along the lines of the current scheme operated by the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority . He also called for a new test for liability, which would ask whether the patient had suffered ‘reasonably avoidable injury’. You can read Sir Rupert Jackson’s full paper here:
Medical errors: Sanctions and compensation – is there another way?
More information on this hot topic is available below:
- Doctor knows best?
- Scope of Duty and Causation – Chester and Afshar Revisited Part 1
- Scope of Duty and Causation – Chester and Afshar Revisited Part 2
- Disaster Avoidance for Experts
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