The Government is actively looking for ways to reduce the costs of clinical negligence claims against the NHS Litigation Authority.
A Government spokeswoman explained that ‘Legal costs in clinical negligence claims are too high and take away vital funds which should be used for patient care.’
The NHS Litigation Authority has released their figures for 2013/2014 and have stated that they spent 22% of their £1.2 billion expenditure on clinical negligence claims.
As detailed in the Law Gazette this week, insurers believe that clinical negligence claims have increased as a result of the Jackson reforms, as personal injury lawyers are increasingly turning their hand to clinical negligence, having had their profits drastically squeezed. However, the Medical Defence Union claim that they still successfully defend 70% of all clinical negligence claims.
Ideas have been put forward about introducing a fixed costs regime for small value clinical negligence claims, as occurs with personal injury claims valued under £25, 000. The Medical Protection Society is engaging with the Government on how to make this a reality.
As a specialist clinical negligence firm, MDS are keen to see that whatever changes are considered by the government as to the way clinical negligence claims are handled, the needs and rights of patients are given greatest priority. In addition, there needs to be a recognition that clinical negligence litigation by its very nature is much more complex and specialised that general personal injury work.