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Should we reform the clinical negligence system in 2022?

13 January 2022
6 min read
Volume 31 · Issue 1


John Tingle, Lecturer in Law, Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham, looks forward to government deliberations and a report in 2022 on the reform of the clinical negligence compensation system

Lawyers, nurses, doctors and others working in clinical negligence litigation will be looking to 2022 and thinking about what might lie ahead for reform to the system. Will our clinical negligence be reformed root and branch, or will only small, piecemeal change take place? When will we all hear? This is a big question for all those concerned with patient safety and health quality.

A review has been promised:

‘Ministers are working on a total overhaul of the “outdated” system of clinical negligence compensation within the NHS … the health and social care committee [was told] that a review of the system was going “at pace” and could involve all claims against the NHS.’

Hyde, 2021

The Health and Social Care Parliamentary Committee (2021) is undertaking an inquiry to examine the case for reform of the NHS litigation system against a background of a significant rise in costs and the need to learn lessons to promote patient safety. It is hard to say which way the government will go, but I suspect the system will not fundamentally change when all options for reform are considered. There might be a few tweaks and tucks here and there, but I don't expect full root-and-branch reform.

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