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23.03.17

NHS Litigation Authority rebranded NHS Resolution ahead of upcoming reform

The NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) will change its name to NHS Resolution at the start of April, at the same time as it releases its five-year plan outlining future change, health secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced.

Newly formed NHS Resolution will combine the three operating arms of NHSLA, the National Clinical Assessment Service and the Family Health Services Appeal Unit to assist the NHS to resolve litigation concerns fairly, as well as share lessons learnt to improve clinical practice and preserve resources for patient care.

Speaking in the house of commons yesterday, Hunt said: “I can inform the house that the NHSLA will radically change its focus from simply defending NHS litigation claims to the early settlement of cases, learning from what goes wrong and the prevention of errors.”

Helen Vernon, chief executive of newly formed NHS Resolution, said: “The NHSLA is changing its name to NHS Resolution and publishing its five-year strategy, delivering fair resolution and learning from harm, which extends our role beyond the historic narrow remit of claims management.

“In those rare cases which involve brain damage at birth, we will work with the family, healthcare staff and the trust, right from the start to ensure that we learn from what went wrong and share this rapidly across the NHS.”

Central to the change is the need for trusts across the country to learn from litigation cases and share experiences.

“Increased support to the NHS in delivering candour in practice and in sharing learning for improvement will be coupled with a fresh approach to resolution which reduces the need for costly and stressful court proceedings,” Vernon explained.

Emma Hallinan, director of claims policy and technical at the Medical Protection Society, the organisation that defends healthcare professionals from litigation claims, said that the changes were “timely”.

“The NHS’s provision for clinical negligence claims has increased dramatically in recent years, so a fresh and more preventative approach to managing claims is timely, and will hopefully reduce the number of costly court cases,” she added. “The fact remains, however, that last year alone £1.5bn was spent on clinical negligence by the NHS at a time when it is under significant pressure.”

Hallinan went on to say there was a “desperate need” for a system which ensured compensation for patients who suffer from clinical negligence but was also affordable to society.

“The case for a whole package of legal reforms which tackle the root of the problem is becoming ever more pressing,” Hallinan concluded.

 

Comments

Karen Callender Caplan   11/05/2017 at 09:50

It has taken the government far too long to get a grip on the issue of claims for negligence and the fortune in legal fees it spends on sometimes defending the indefensible. The use of distressing tactics against the bereaved including the now infamous case of Connor Sparrowhawk and the horrific death of my own younger sister Robin Kitt Callender, are only two examples of the torment families are put through. When will the NHS stop adding insult to injury? How many more relatives will be damaged, and indeed broken, by the frustrating search for answers and justice? How many more times will the government use its overwhelming financial advantage to intimidate and outspend hard working families of limited means in order to make them drop their case? How much more taxpayers money will be used against the taxpayers themselves when they need to make a claim? It is long past time that the government did the decent thing and showed more compassion and concern to those who have already suffered the ultimate trauma of the death of a cherished family member through the neglect of the NHS.

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