NHS: Negligence

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 31st October 2019.

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Photo of John Baron John Baron Conservative, Basildon and Billericay

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the criteria by which the NHS assess the merits of clinical negligence claims prior to litigation.

Photo of John Baron John Baron Conservative, Basildon and Billericay

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the merits of the practice of the NHS paying their lawyers the same fee regardless of the outcome of a claim.

Photo of Nadine Dorries Nadine Dorries The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

NHS Resolution manages clinical negligence and other claims against the National Health Service in England, and shares learning from claims to help improve safety for patients and staff. NHS Resolution has a responsibility to settle justified claims fairly and promptly and defend unjustified claims to secure NHS resources. Each case must be considered on its own merits and it is important that a proper investigation is undertaken. NHS Resolution aims to get to the right answer as quickly as possible in every case and to help resolve claims sooner, and without the need for court proceedings. To support this NHS Resolution launched a new mediation service in December 2016.

NHS Resolution is an arm’s length body of the Department and is accountable to the Department and its performance is subject to regular review through the Department’s sponsorship arrangements. The Department’s assessment is that NHS Resolution is a well-run and efficient organisation and that it has had some success, within the current legal framework, in containing the cost of NHS litigation, a view that was supported by the National Audit Office, in its report ‘Managing the costs of clinical negligence in trusts’ published in September 2017 which can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.nao.org.uk/report/managing-the-costs-of-clinical-negligence-in-trusts/

NHS Resolution regularly agrees large-scale contracts for legal services, using its position as a bulk purchaser to obtain the best expertise at value for money for the health service. The contracts include a combination of fixed and capped fees as well as competitive hourly rates for its panel firms, which are also required to support NHS Resolution’s work to learn from claims to improve safety.

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