35 years promoting patient safety and justice!

Below is a timeline showing some of our more notable achievements. However, at the heart of everything we do are the daily conversations we have with people whose lives have been turned upside down by harm caused by lapses in patient safety.

Each case is different, but the help we provide has helped thousands to get the answers they deserve; feel assured that lessons will be learnt to improve safety; and get the help they need to cope with the damage caused.


The AvMA story began in 1982 when playwright Peter Ransley founded the charity after his BBC drama Minor Complications caused public outcry. Arnold Simanowitz (now OBE) was AvMA’s first Chief Executive.

1983

AvMA begins to campaign to improve expertise in clinical negligence cases and initiates the first solicitor referral programme (pre-cursor to AvMA’s solicitors’ panel)

1989

AvMA holds the first of the now annual Clinical Negligence Conferences, bringing together leaders in clinical negligence law

1995

AvMA successfully campaigns against abolition of legal aid for clinical negligence cases

1996

After lobbying by AvMA, a new NHS complaints procedure introduced

2001

After campaigning by AvMA, Commission for Health Improvement (now CQC) and National Patient Safety Agency established

2003

Peter Walsh joins as new Chief Executive. AvMA rebranded as Action against Medical Accidents – the charity for patient safety and justice

2009

AvMA launches the Inquest Support Service to support families at healthcare related inquests to generate lessons for patient safety

2010

AvMA a ‘core participant’ in the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry – 90% of our suggestions taken up by the Francis Enquiry Report

2011

AvMA leads campaign for access to justice for clinical negligence cases in light of Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill

2014

AvMA’s long campaign for a Duty of Candour leads to implementation in England, followed by plans to introduce in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

2017

AvMA speaks up for patient safety and justice in wake of ‘safe space’ and ‘fixed costs’ proposals