NHS Litigation Reform

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27 October, 2021

John Bennett

The government are examining the case for the reform of litigation against the NHS, against the background of increasing costs and concerns that clinical negligence fails to do enough to encourage lessons being learnt and the promotion of future patient safety.

AVMA have submitted evidence to the committee and are concerned that these reforms may make it uneconomical to pursue clinical negligence claims, because legal costs will either not be recoverable or restricted.

The attempt to reduce costs and save money means that there is a real risk that there will be a denial of access to justice. Here at Forbes we have experienced instances where cases are initially defended, but faced with the prospect of a claim and court proceedings, the NHS have accepted responsibility and compensated the patient appropriately.

Patient safety is vitally important. We all must learn from our mistakes. Negligent treatment should not be brushed under the carpet, every opportunity should be taken to learn from mistakes. Medical accidents can have devastating consequences for individuals and their family. Victims of those accidents need to be fully compensated to ensure that their lives can be put back, as far as possible to the position they were before the negligent treatment. Being held financially accountable for those mistakes is often a good way to learn from them.

The best way for the NHS to save money is to learn from their mistakes and ensure that they provide a reasonable standard of care. Unfortunately, in some circumstances the only way to achieve that is a claim for losses arising out of negligent treatment. Access to justice should not be constrained by costs.

It is hoped that the committee will take on board the various submissions being put to them before they make any changes and ensure they do not deny individuals access to justice.

For more information contact John Bennett in our Personal Injury department via email or phone on 01254 872111. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

Learn more about our Personal Injury department here

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