UK National Health Service increasing pace

of admissions of liability in Clinical

Negligence Claims

NHS Resolution, the organisation responsible for handling clinical negligence claims against NHS Trusts says that it is making substantial progress with regard to early resolution of clinical negligence claims particularly in the area of early admissions of liability so as to minimise anxiety and worry for injured patients and speed up the settlement process.

This is so particularly in the area of complex birth injury cases. In a Report published on 25th of September 2019 NHS Resolution said that it had made early admissions of liability in such cases in 24 instances where severe brain injuries were suffered by newly born children during 2017/2018.

Having reviewed the process in such claims NHS Resolution found that the average length of time between an incident occurring at birth and an award of compensation exceeded eleven years.

A new scheme was put in place to improve the situation and a Report on the first year of the new scheme found that in 24 cases where there was early resolution admissions of liability had been made between 3 months to 2 years after the birth incident which will speed up the conclusion of such claims and payment of compensation.

The new scheme seeks to provide support to families at a very early stage after a birth incident and not to await receipt of a letter of claim which could be significant time after the birth or a request for disclosure of documents.

NHS Resolution has also worked on checking cases where the trusts felt that it was unlikely that a claim would arise as it found that in many cases such a view was unduly optimistic and the categorisation of which instances are likely to give rise to claims and now has been radically reviewed. One of the initiatives taken was that NHS Resolution works with NHS Trusts to provide extra training to self-diagnose where mistakes have been made so that families can be supported and matters resolved as expeditiously as possible.

The system for sharing of medical records has also been streamlined and issues surrounding GDPR have been resolved.

It is known that birth brain injuries apart from the catastrophic effect on the child and families costs the NHS multiple billions of pounds and such resources could well be used to improve the chances of such incidences not occurring in the first place. The new procedures are designed to improve transparency, provide support for families and treatment to the child, shorten the compensation process and remove litigation as a barrier to candour.

NHS Resolution say that they will continue to improve the process for the benefit of all concerned.

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This document is for information purposes only and does not purport to represent legal advice.  
© O’Rourke Reid 2019