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This article was published on June 29th, 2017
Emma Hallinan, director of claims at the MPS, said: “It is important that there is reasonable compensation for patients harmed following clinical negligence, but a balance must be struck against society’s ability to pay.
If the current trend continues the balance will tip too far and the cost risks becoming unsustainable for the NHS and ultimately for society. They could be paying £2.6 billion by 2022″
However, if we look at her comments in full the legal fees equate to just over 30% of the monies paid out by the NHS. Where is the rest? Compensation possibly for legitimate claims where lives have been devastated.
The picture is painted all too often of lawyers as the fat cats creaming in from people’s suffering however if the lawyers weren’t here who would ensure these people had a voice. How many times have the NHSLA , now NHS Resolution, either tried to walk away with a half-hearted apology or a letter confirming ” lessons will be learnt”
That doesn’t cover the cost of living with the devastating consequences for the victim .
Costs would be significantly reduced if there was more openness from the NHS when things go wrong. If a hospital employs a locum without checking their credentials and they butcher a patient during surgery would there then be a reluctance from the public for lawyers to be allowed to pursue this to assist with the life changing injuries that have been suffered ? We are acting in a case where exactly this has happened. The Trust tried to say the doctor from another country was appropriately qualified , he wasn’t , his qualifications were made up and no one thought to check .
No one would wish this , not the layers nor the other competent staff within the hospital but it can and does happen .
So yes we agree costs need to be watched but that is why we have proportionality and I think most firms would say the claimant lawyers repeatedly come out the wrong side of that argument . What we don’t need are even more hurdles for the patient/victim to jump when they have already been let down so badly.