MDDUS key messages on discount rate reform addressed

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release: Thursday, 28 June 2018

MDDUS is pleased that many of its key messages on discount rate reform have been addressed during the third reading of the Civil Liability Bill in the House of Lords yesterday.

MDDUS chief executive Chris Kenny said: “We are pleased that the government has listened to our key points on discount rate reform. While we welcome these achievements, we now hope for a speedy journey through the House of Commons to ensure a new rate is implemented as soon as possible.

“We congratulate Lord Sharkey on his amendments relating to the exclusion of the expert panel from the first review and the truncated review timetable. We are pleased that these have been agreed by the government.

“This will allow a new rate, fair to both claimants and defendants alike, to be fixed more swiftly on the basis of the extensive information already available. Once in place, the expert panel will then play an important role in future rate reviews as per the methodology set out in the bill.

“We are pleased the government has agreed that the discount rate should be reviewed every five years instead of three – yet another one of our key messages.

“The drawback of review over a relatively short period of time is that the review process may be undertaken when it is unnecessary, causing unnecessary cost and uncertainty for claimants and defendants.

“A five-year review period will mitigate the risks associated with this, including by limiting the opportunities for ‘gaming’ of the litigation process.

“We do, however, remain disappointed that the debate thus far has not focused on repeal of Section 2(4) of the Law Reform (Personal Injuries) Act 1948 which disregards NHS care when calculating cost of future care.

“Awards continue to be calculated on the basis of the costs of private sector care, when all the evidence shows that the majority of those who receive damages, quite rightly, use excellent and readily accessible NHS services where they can do so.”

MDDUS will continue to make representations to government in this regard, including by way of participation in a Department of Health and Social Care Working Group on tackling the rising costs of clinical negligence, due to report by autumn 2018.

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.

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