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‘Settled status’ applications must work for EU staff, say small firmsCap lawyer costs for NHS clinical negligence claims, says NHS Confederation

“Last month, with others, we called on the Justice Secretary to reform the handling of clinical negligence claims.

Following the announcement by the Department of Health & Social Care that a group of experts will work on introducing a new cap on the amount of costs that lawyers can recover in NHS clinical negligence cases, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:

“Last month, with others, we called on the Justice Secretary to reform the handling of clinical negligence claims. 

“Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction. It must surely be fair to cap the amount lawyers can charge for their costs, and we welcome the decision to set up a group to work on this - we trust that the Government will act quickly on its recommendations. 

“We are also pleased that ministers have signalled their determination to tackle the wider issue of clinical negligence claims. The rising cost is now unsustainable and already means that vast resources that could be used by the NHS are being diverted elsewhere.

“We fully accept that there must be reasonable compensation for patients harmed through clinical negligence, but this needs to be balanced against society’s ability to pay. Money that is used for this purpose cannot be spent on frontline care.

“We also accept that the greatest prize is safe care – no health system can eliminate mistakes but the campaign to put safety at the heart of the NHS is critical. The irony is that excessive claims and a blame first approach undermines the open and learning culture which is so important for safe care.”