Defending the Indefensible – It has to stop

Posted By admin - 12th September 2017

The National Audit Office (NAO), the Government Watchdog, has this week released a report called “Managing the costs of clinical negligence in trusts”.  The report examines how clinical negligence claims against hospital trusts are managed.

The NAO report recommends a creation of new solutions for clinical negligence claims.  Mehmooda Duke, Managing Director of Moosa-Duke Solicitors, has the following to say about the recommendations in the report:

“We openly welcome this opportunity.  It is something that the Society of Clinical Negligence Lawyers, a national body, of which I am an executive board member, has been seeking for the last 18 months.

At the heart of this matter is Patient Safety. The answer in our view lies in reforming the NHS’s tactics of ‘Defend-Deny-Delay’.

There will always be mistakes and there will always be claims but it is what the NHS and NHS Resolution does about them that is key.  In our view the NHS needs to:

  • learn from its mistakes and improve patient safety
  • focus on eliminating and preventing avoidable mistakes
  • acknowledge fault in a timely and humane manner
  • stop defending the indefensible
  • reduce the number of cases where claimants are forced to start court proceedings; – NHSLA loses a staggering 76% of these cases
  • Settle claims with merit early

 

Lord Jackson mentions this himself in his recent review:

“The best way to reduce litigation costs is to settle meritorious claims early, or failing that admit liability early.  At the moment far too many claims are settled after the issue of proceedings” (page 73 para 15:3)

 

It is inefficiency, delay and a repeated refusal to admit liability in claims where it is obvious that a mistake has been made which needs to be addressed.  When these indefensible claims are defended, costs inevitably increase.

Costs spiral when there is an unwillingness on the part of the defendant NHS to arbitrate, discuss, apologise or address concerns, in anything other than an aggressive legal manner.”

Moosa-Duke Solicitors are specialists in all aspects of clinical negligence matters and have a specialist experience of dealing with claims involving vulnerable clients. If you have concerns regarding the care or treatment that you have received, please contact us on 0116 254 7456 for a no obligation conversation.

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