MDDUS urges government to increase fixed recoverable costs limit

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release: Tuesday, 2 May 2017

MDDUS has urged the government to increase the fixed recoverable costs limit following the conclusion of the Department of Health’s consultation Introducing Fixed Recoverable Costs in Lower Value Clinical Negligence Claims.

MDDUS CEO Chris Kenny said:

“MDDUS has long believed that there should be a fair system for resolving clinical negligence claims. We welcome the government consulting on this issue and now hope for a rapid transition period as well as a swift and decisive introduction of reforms that ensure timely, proper and just compensation for those wrongly damaged.

“While we can understand the introduction of a limited scheme to ensure that the regime is robust and workable, we are disappointed the caps proposed only include claims of up to £25,000. We urge the government for a firm and swift commitment to increasing the upper limit to £250,000.

“We believe this is imperative in light of the current challenges facing the health service, not least the significant increase in the cost of claims that has already arisen from the recent change in the discount rate.

“Reform is vital to ensure that public funds, and the subscriptions of our members, are properly directed towards compensating wrongly-injured patients promptly and proportionately; rather than generating ever-increasing activity by claimant law firms.

“It is our view that the distortion in the ratio between damages and claimant costs levels is having an adversely disproportionate and harmful effect, particularly, but not exclusively, in the lower value claims.

“The ratio of legal costs to damages has spiralled out of all proportion in recent years and the current system also perversely incentivises lengthy and distressing proceedings for those seeking compensation and encourages the pursuit of unmeritorious claims.

“The scope for savings for both medical defence organisations and the NHS Resolution are considerable. We have experienced cases where claimants’ lawyers’ bills have amounted to well over four times the damages awarded.

“We await the report and conclusions with anticipation and will continue to work together with NHS England and the Department of Health to ensure early and successful change.”

Ends

For further information contact Richard Hendry on 0333 0434444 or 07976 272266, or email rihendry@mddus.com.

Note to editors

MDDUS (The Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland) is a medical and dental defence organisation providing access to professional indemnity and expert medico- and dento-legal advice for doctors, dentists and other healthcare professionals throughout the UK.