John Tingle, Lecturer in Law, Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham, considers the debate around reform of the system for clinical negligence claims
The debate continues about the high cost of clinical negligence claims in the NHS. The CEO of the Medical Defence Union (MDU) recently had a letter published in The Times, arguing that the government must get to grips with runaway clinical negligence costs:
‘This unsustainable situation is driven by an outdated legal system rather than deteriorating clinical standards. Legal reform is desperately needed.’
Such clarion calls for the reform of the clinical negligence system are frequently made in the media and the Medical Protection Society (MPS) and the MDU have long-standing campaigns in this area. They raise some well-reasoned arguments. The recent NHS Litigation Reform Inquiry (Health and Social Care Committee, 2022) closely considered clinical negligence reform including no-fault systems. The oral and written evidence submitted to this inquiry provides a rich and contemporary commentary on NHS litigation from both those who advocate reform and those who do not. The Government is currently looking at reform proposals and a consultation paper is promised (Hyde, 2022).
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