Legal reform needed to tackle rising NHS compensation costs, says MDU

The MDU has responded to the BBC's report today on the rising cost of NHS clinical negligence claims.

Responding to the report, Dr Matthew Lee, MDU professional services director, said:

'As this report shows, for too long huge rises in the cost of NHS clinical negligence claims have been allowed to continue unchecked. Awards well over £10 million are not unusual and this is no reflection on clinical standards, which remain high. It is because of a legal system which has driven up the cost of paying compensation using NHS funds to unaffordable levels.

'By law the NHS must fund compensation payments on the basis of care being provided privately and this inflates awards massively. There was also a drop in the discount rate in 2017 to -0.75%, the lowest it has ever been. This immediately doubled the cost of high value claims. A claim worth around £8 million in 2016 is more likely to result in a payment of over £17 million now.

'Paying multi-million pound sums to individual patients diverts huge amounts of NHS money from wider patient care and must not be allowed to continue. Patients who are negligently damaged by the NHS must receive appropriate care and treatment, but the NHS cannot continue to pay such huge sums. The MDU has long argued that only radical legal reform will halt the rising costs of claims for the NHS. This must be a priority for the government.'

This guidance was correct at publication 16/01/2018. It is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

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