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Overhaul of clin neg fees wouldn’t be so bad

By this time next year it’s expected that a fixed fees system will be in place for clinical negligence claims in England and Wales. Prior to the impending consultation process, lobby groups are already setting out the case for the defence. 

8 December 2015

They argue that fixed fees will limit access to justice, adding insult to the injury already inflicted by negligent medical practitioners and those failing ?to deliver adequate patient care. Their fears are understandable. 

The primary motivation is to halt the NHS’s rising legal bill. ?In a climate of public spending cuts, the latest headline figure ?of £1.3bn in fees and damages is politically and economically hard to take.

Also, previous attempts to streamline the claims process and therefore reduce legal costs on both sides are yet to bear fruit. It’s hard to find anyone in the legal or health sector who believes that the much-heralded ‘duty of candour’ (where medical professionals admit to mistakes when injuries have been inflicted negligently) has taken root.

It’s also possible to argue that radical change is not necessary as the impact of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 chang...

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