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  • RCGP calls for an end to the ‘vicious cycle’ of unfair funding for GP training

    RCGP calls for an end to the ‘vicious cycle’ of unfair funding for GP training

    Tuesday, 10 July 2018 09:39
  • GMS ready reckoner published

    GMS ready reckoner published

    Wednesday, 04 July 2018 15:22
  • Scotland update Golden Hello arrangements for GPs

    Scotland update Golden Hello arrangements for GPs

    Friday, 29 June 2018 15:11
  • Extra £20m funding will go hand-in-hand with a new 10-year plan for the NHS

    Extra £20m funding will go hand-in-hand with a new 10-year plan for the NHS

    Monday, 18 June 2018 17:31

A Resized GP Laptop Image cbAugust 3 2017

A review into the system to cap legal costs in clinical negligence cases has not gone far enough in its proposals, medical indemnity companies have said.

Lord Justice Jackson published his latest review on fixed recoverable costs (FRC), which included assessing the introduction of a FRC of for ‘fast track’ cases where claims of up to £25,000 can be heard in one day. This system was brought in following his report of 2010.

This latest review proposes that the FRC system could be extended, and a threshold of £100,000 would be added for cases “which can be tried in three days or less, with no more than two expert witnesses giving oral evidence on each side.”

However, the MDU has said the proposals to cap legal costs “do not go far enough.”

Dr Matthew Lee, MDU professional services director, said the review “is the latest in a series of consultations that have taken place on the issue of how to make costs more proportionate to compensation paid to patients.

“Each time, the proposals seem to be more watered down in terms of having an impact on the overall burden to the NHS of the tide of litigation. Today’s review is no exception and is likely to further delay implementation.”

He recognised the need for patients who believe they have been negligently harmed to have access to justice, “but fixed costs are fairer and could, and indeed should, be applied to all cases valued at up to £250,000,” he said.

“In lower-value claims, claimant lawyers’ fees are still, on average, above the level of damages awarded and that cannot be right. If these proposals are only applied to the lowest value cases then the problem will not be fully addressed. The rising tide of litigation is having a dramatic effect on the medical profession and the NHS more widely. The current system makes no sense and creates too many perverse incentives. It needs root and branch reform.”

MDDUS chief executive Chris Kenny said: “Lord Justice Jackson’s review has taken a very narrow perspective on the question of fixed recoverable costs in medical negligence cases, with a proposed limit of £25,000, and fails to engage with the wider impact of unjustified litigation on the NHS and GPs.”

The MDDUS would be happy to participate in the proposed working party, he added, “but this report underlines the need for the Department of Health to complete its more holistic and thorough review (with the benefit of the many and detailed submissions to which Jackson will not have had access) and produce more balanced and ambitious action.

“The Department of Health must do more than simply rubber stamp Jackson’s recommendations in this complex field. Today’s small step does not come close to turning around the cost and litigation tanker.”

Links:
MDU statement                  
MDDUS statement            
Courts and Tribunals Judiciary ‘Review of Civil Litigation Costs: Supplemental Report – Fixed Recoverable Cost’s                  

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