“CRUDE AND CRUEL”: AvMA’s response to ‘fixed recoverable costs’ consultation

Published: 26 Apr 2022

AvMA has submitted a detailed response to the Department of Health and social Care’s consultation on proposals to impose fixed costs on ‘lower value’ clinical negligence claims. We firmly believe that the proposals as they stand would mean that many injured people or their families will not be able to find a solicitor to represent them at the rates proposed and so will lose their access to justice. Even if they did get representation and won, they would lose significant amounts of money from their ‘damages’ to cover some of the costs that solicitors would no longer be able to recover from the defendant.

The proposals would also encourage a deny and defend culture in the NHS and mean that lessons will not be learned or organisations held to account, because people are no longer able to challenge denials. The most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in society, including those from BAME communities and disabled people will be disproportionately affected.

AvMA chief executive Peter Walsh said:

“These proposals are no more than a crude and cruel cost-saving exercise at the expense of the very people that have been harmed or lost loved ones due to negligent treatment. They have no place in a fair society of a health service which aspires to have a ‘just culture’. They would not only damage access to justice, but would also damage patient safety. Ironically. The best way for the Government to save money spent on clinical negligence would be to prevent the errors happening in the first place by investing in patient safety, and when mistakes do cause harm investigating the incident properly, recognising when there is fault, and compensating people fairly without the need for costly and stressful litigation. We urge the Government to think again.”