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NHS Clinical Negligence Claims


NHS Clinical Negligence Claims (APIL Article 27.07.2016)

A fall in the number of ‘new’ NHS clinical negligence claims was highlighted in a recent report. The fall was overshadowed by a significant increase in the National Health Service Litigation Authority’s (NHSLA) expenditure in its 2015/16 annual report.

“The main focus should be on the fact that people have been injured.” Association of Personal Injuries Lawyers (APIL) president Neil Sugarman recently told The Times for legal update The Brief.

The press focused on an increase in claimant costs and that the NHSLA’s provisions for claims have almost doubled.

APIL President comments

In another comment for the BBC, Neil pointed out that the NHS Litigation Authority makes matters worse for itself:

“The NHSLA is its own worst enemy for pushing up costs against itself by dragging out claims and defending cases needlessly, only then to settle at the door of the court”.

An initial analysis of the report by APIL’s policy research officer John McGlade is on the APIL website, and examines the fundamental reasons why costs are rising. He says a key driver is the number of settled claims:

“The growth in settled claims, and therefore legal costs, is more likely to be a reflection of what is going on in the NHS than the behaviour of claimant lawyers,” he explains.

“Moving forward, the falling number of “new” clinical negligence claims should, in time; result in a reduced number of claims being resolved. This, in turn, should lead to falling legal costs.”

APIL is making a number of Freedom of Information requests to the NHSLA to determine a clearer picture of the state of play.

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