Action against Medical Accidents(AvMA) is the UK charity for patient safety and justice. We provide free and confidential advice and support to people affected by medical accidents, via our helpline and casework service and can refer to our panel of specialist clinical negligence solicitors or other sources of support where appropriate. HELPLINE: 0845 123 2352 (Mon - Fri 10am - 5pm). AvMA is also the foremost patients' charity working to improve patient safety in the UK.
07.07.15: Welsh Government consults on Green Paper: Our Health, Our Health Service
The Welsh Government has launched a consultation on its Green Paper: Our Health, Our Health Service. The Green Paper proposes at long last introducing a statutory Duty of Candour in Wales. This is particularly poignant as it was the family of young Robbie Powell in South Wales who have done more than anyone to raise awareness of the need for a Duty of Candour (“Robbie’s law”) across the UK and inspired AvMA’s campaign following the alleged attempted cover up of the circumstances of his death over twenty years ago. The Green Paper also seeks views on ways to improve the leadership; governance and the structure of the NHS in Wales, including changes to Health Inspectorate Wales, and improving patient feedback and complaints handling. The deadline for responses is 20th November 2015.
01.07.15: Duty of Candour to be revised following legal challenge
The Department of Health have agreed to consult on changing the Duty of Candour regulations following a legal challenge by AvMA. In April 2015 a different duty of candour was created for NHS primary care and private healthcare than that which applies to NHS bodies such as trusts. The primary care and private care duty excludes incidents which “could lead to” harm. AvMA had tried to persuade the Department of Health not to create this anomaly but ministers pressed ahead. AvMA reluctantly threatened a judicial review on the basis that there had been no consultation on creating two different versions of the duty of candour, and that it was unfair and irrational. A consultation on changing these regulations based on the definition used for NHS bodies being consistently applied across all sectors will now be held shortly. AvMA are grateful to Kingsley Napley solicitors and Jeremy Hyam & Kate Beattie at 1 Crown Office Row for their legal advice on the potential judicial review.
29.06.15: Proposals to cap legal costs in clinical negligence
As part of a raft of cost-saving measures, the Department of Health proposes to cap legal costs in clinical negligence cases where the NHS has been found to have been negligent and caused harm.
The announcement was made yesterday via the media without any prior discussion with AvMA and other key stakeholders. AvMA awaits to see details of the proposal but believes that the rationale given is misguided and the proposal would deny many injured patients and families access to justice.
Judges already can and do limit costs if they are found to be unjustified. Often costs escalate because the NHS unreasonably denies liability or delays settlement of claims. The proposal to base the legal costs cap on a proportion of the damages awarded would make some claims unviable. The damages awarded to people with no income or dependants (such as older people, or in still birth or child death cases) is usually very small but can be just as complex and costly to investigate as any other case.
AvMA chief executive Peter Walsh said: “We are disappointed that no discussion and very little thought seemingly went into these proposals and the effects on access to justice have been ignored. The Department of Health and Ministry of Justice would do better to address the unreasonable denials and delays in settling claims and improving patient safety. 100% of these costs not to mention the far greater human cost would be avoided if the negligent treatment was avoided in the first place.”
18.06.15: AvMA's LEGAL CHALLENGE OVER "TWO-TIER" DUTY OF CANDOUR
Lawyers acting for AvMA have written to Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, demanding changes to the ‘Duty of Candour’ regulations, or face a potential judicial review. A deadline of Friday 19th June has been given for a response after which, if there is not a satisfactory response, AvMA intends to instruct lawyers to apply for a judicial review. Read more
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