History of AvMA

AvMA was originally established in 1982 as Action for the Victims of Medical Accidents following public reaction to the television play Minor Complications by AvMA’s founder Peter Ransley.

The name was changed in 2003 to Action against Medical Accidents.

Since its inception, AvMA has provided advice and support to thousands of people affected by avoidable harm in healthcare each year and succeeded in bringing about massive changes to the way that the legal system deals with clinical negligence and in moving patient safety higher up the agenda in the UK.

The legal reforms of Lord Woolf and the creation of agencies such as the National Patient Safety Agency and Commission for Health Audit and Inspection (now the CQC) followed years of AvMA raising these issues and campaigning.

AvMA is also responsible for making clinical negligence a specialism within legal practice, and continues to accredit solicitors for its specialist panel and promote good practice through comprehensive services to claimant solicitors.

AvMA has gone on to be the leading voice for patients on patient safety and justice matters.

The charity was chosen as the National Patient Safety Agency’s (NPSA) partner in developing the Patients for Patient Safety and Patient Safety Champions projects. (The NPSA has since been abolished and its functions transferred to NHS England).

AvMA’s research into implementation (or otherwise) of Patient Safety Alerts by the NHS created a storm and was a wakeup call to make monitoring and regulation of the NHS more robust.

AvMA helped scores of families affected by events at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, campaigned for the public inquiry which eventually happened, and were a core participant in the inquiry.

AvMA are extensively quoted in Sir Robert Francis QC’s report and most of AvMA’s suggestions were taken up in his recommendations. Most notably, AvMA’s arguments for a statutory duty of candour were supported by Sir Robert and this strengthened the charity’s arm in trying to persuade the Government to accept it which, after a struggle, it did.

More recently AvMA has led work which helped avoid the implementation of so-called ‘safe space’ proposals in England, which would have denied patients/families access to information from investigations into their own cases; the adoption of a statutory duty of candour in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; and limiting the damage of controversial legal ‘reforms’ such as fixed recoverable costs in clinical negligence. For information on our current campaigns see our Policy & Campaigns section.