Policy roundup

Fixed recoverable costs in clinical negligence

The Government has yet to respond to the results of the Department of Health consultation on controversial proposals to impose fixed recoverable costs on clinical negligence cases. The consultation finished in May and many have called for the proposals to be dropped, including leading legal organisations and a coalition if 8 national charities including AvMA, the Patients Association and National Voices. We believe the proposals would damage both access to justice and patient safety.

Lord Justice Jackson’s report on fixed costs has now been published. Whilst he advocates fixed costs for cases up to £25,000 in value, he recognises the special case for clinical negligence and recommends a multi-stakeholder working party to work on this. AvMA is calling for the terms of reference for a working party to include looking at alternatives to fixed costs and exclusions to a fixed cost scheme if it comes about.

Rapid Resolution and Redress Scheme

The Government response to results of the consultation on a Rapid Resolution and Redress scheme for brain damaged babies is expected before the end of the year. The consultation finished in May. AvMA and many other respondents welcomed the policy’s intentions and saw the potential of some kind of scheme. However, AvMA and others voiced concerns over the proposed scheme being run by NHS Resolution, it being funded by reducing the compensation babies would receive by 10%; and the need for independent specialist advice for families.