The National Health Service (NHS) expects to pay out £5.9 billion in known or expected clinical negligence claims – with a further £3 billion of claims possible, its accounts revealed last week.
Figures for the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) also showed the organisation paid out as much as £107 million in legal costs last year. Of these, £46 million related to defence costs and £61 million were claimant costs met by the NHS.
The NHSLA is currently reviewing responses to a consultation paper for reforming the approach to clinical negligence – with the possibility of setting up a redress scheme for resolving disputes without resort to the courts. It hopes to adopt a more co-ordinated approach to dealing with harm caused by the NHS.
The NHSLA currently has 15 firms on its clinical negligence panel. Finance director Tom Fothergill said there are no current plans to make any changes
“Law Society’s Gazette”: 7.5.04