Wednesday, 17 April, 2024
HomeMedico-LegalPublic sympathy for NHS is 'deterring' negligence claims

Public sympathy for NHS is 'deterring' negligence claims

Heightened national sympathy and admiration for the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) could be deterring legitimate claims of clinical negligence, new figures suggest. Peter Walsh, CEO of the patient charity Action against Medical Accidents, warned that positive sentiment may also tempt legislators to pass more restrictive measures on making claims.

A Law Gazette report notes that figures released by the Compensation Recovery Unit show 8,839 clinical negligence claims in 2020 – a 45% fall on the previous year. Some of that drop will be attributable to logistical issues caused by the pandemic, but Walsh suggested sympathy for the NHS had stopped some potential claimants from coming forward.

“All of us are acutely aware of the pressure that staff and the NHS are under. There is a heightened reluctance to claim but there will come a time when there will need to be some catching up when people have time to think about it,” Walsh said.

The prospect of fixed recoverable costs for clinical negligence claims continues to linger over the sector. The UK government has been contemplating a consultation on the issue for more than 18 months.

Walsh said his charity is concerned that the pandemic – and the resulting goodwill for the NHS – could create a “perfect storm”, lending political cover for radical curbs on claims. “There are a range of other threats to access to justice we see around the corner and even some extreme parts of the defendant side arguing for complete exemption from liability,” he said.


[link url=""]Full Law Gazette report (Open access)[/link]

MedicalBrief — our free weekly e-newsletter

We'd appreciate as much information as possible, however only an email address is required.