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Patient safety must not play second fiddle to NHS costs reforms

More than a year after publication of its consultation on fixing costs for clinical negligence claims, the Government finally issued a response today (Thursday).

There was very little in the report which had not been said before, from Lord Justice Jackson’s views on fixed costs for clinical negligence claims, to the cross-Government group set up to look at reducing claims costs for the NHS. As always, APIL’s response focussed on the needs of patients.

“We have advised the Government that there is scope to streamline the procedures and cost involved in lower NHS value claims, but that is only part of the story,” said APIL president Brett Dixon.

“So-called NHS ‘never events’ – injuries which are serious and largely preventable – have stayed at the same level in the past two years,” he went on. And, drawing on information gained from a request under the Freedom of Information Act, he said: “Analysis of information provided by NHS Resolution… shows that failure of maternity care represented a quarter of the damages paid out to injured patients in 2016/17. Failure in maternity care has been identified for years as a major problem for the NHS yet little seems to have changed.

“The urge to streamline costs and procedures must go hand in hand with a real, systemic, consistent reduction in avoidable injury,” he said. “Only then will the NHS become more efficient, and only then will we see an end to the needless suffering of patients.”
Read the Department of Health and Social Care’s paper here.


Safeguarding justice is the focus for April 2019

Rumours that an increase in the small claims limit and new whiplash tariffs would be implemented by April 2019 were confirmed by the Ministry of Justice (the MoJ) earlier this week.

Members of the steering group set up by the MoJ to consider how the reforms might work were also told that the small claims limit would only increase for RTA claims in the first instance. A decision was also taken at ministerial level to allow the Association of British Insurers (ABI) to fund a new IT gateway to allow litigants in person access to the system.

“Ministers have at least taken on board our arguments about the importance of introducing any changes in stages and not leaping ahead to include employers’ liability and public liability claims,” said APIL president Brett Dixon.

“That the reforms will go ahead at all is, of course, unwelcome news to injured people, but APIL will use its seat at the table to help to safeguard access to justice for injured people as far as possible. There is still a lot of work to do in the next 14 months.”

The news came as a report from the House of Commons Justice Select Committee’s inquiry into the small claims limit is still awaited.


11th hour for EC nomination forms

Candidates for APIL’s executive committee must return their nomination forms to the APIL office by 5pm tomorrow (Friday 16 February).
Forms can be sent electronically to maria.holmes@apil.org.uk.

CCMCC age of work statistics

Details of processing or reply times for work at the County Court Money Claims Centre (Salford) Information correct as at 12 February.
This information is now online, updated every Monday here

Claim issue 4
Help with Fees application 4
Acknowledgement of Service 3
Defences 3
Judgments 4
Applications to be processed/orders drawn 18
Correspondence 4
Direction Questionnaires 4
Attachment of Earnings 4
Transfer of file to local court from date of order/notice of transfer 3

** For real time updates on new content added to the APIL information exchange, make sure you have updated your preferences in ‘My Details’ here


Online conversations this week…
  • What are the rules on who gives closing speech first?
  • Change of medical expert mid-way through claim – help!
  • Letter of notification and NHS LA/Resolution – results?
  • Applications and consent order madness
  • Who is the defendant here?
  • Can I pull out from Stage 2?
  • MedCo and two separate accidents – expert conundrum
  • Accident during aircraft disembarkation
  • Letterbox dog bite claim – runner?
  • Ski accident – proficiency and ski instructor lliability?

Don’t forget that you can search for insurers or witnesses in our Insurers forum. Scottish members can share experiences about the PI Sheriff Court. Looking for an expert? Head over to our dedicated Experts Forum. Or come and have a chat in our Social forum.

Patient safety must not play second fiddle to NHS costs reforms
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