Eleventh Hour Settlements Costing NHS Dear
Calls have been made for a change of attitude within the NHS, which would make life better for vulnerable patients, as well as leading to major savings for the health service.
Responding to the Department of Health (DoH) pre-consultation ‘Reducing legal costs in clinical negligence claims’, issued this Summer ahead of a formal consultation in the Autumn, lawyers at APIL have argued that major savings could be made to the NHS if it were to cut out needless injuries and adopt a professional and efficient approach to dealing with claims when things do go wrong.
APIL’s vice-president, Neil Sugarman, feels that: ”The main problem is that the NHS has all the facts of the case at its fingertips but often fails to admit it is liable for the injury… So the injured person spends years trying to prove there was negligence, running up costs all the time, only for liability finally to be admitted at the eleventh hour.”
The response was prompted following comments made by parliamentary under-secretary for the DoH, Ben Gummer, who had suggested that lawyers acting ‘unscrupulously’ were using patient claims to load grossly excessive costs onto the NHS and charge far more than the patient receives in compensation.
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