MDDUS calls for unequivocal time commitment for a new discount rate

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release: Tuesday, 20 March 2018

MDDUS welcomes changes to the way the personal injury discount rate is set in England and Wales as part of the Civil Liability Bill unveiled by the Justice Secretary David Gauke today.

Commenting, MDDUS chief executive Chris Kenny said: “We are pleased that these changes will reform the setting of the discount rate to ensure a fairer system all round and we encourage the Scottish Government to follow suit as part of the Damages (Scotland) Bill.

“We have been at the forefront of the debate to put some rationality and hard evidence into the system and so welcome today’s announcement. It is vital that this new framework and way of calculating the rate is now brought in as quickly as possible.

“Both Governments should now commit unequivocally to having a revised rate in place by March 2019 at the very latest. That means appointing the expert panels at the first opportunity and ensuring that its deliberations draw on the extensive consultation already undertaken, rather than recapitulating old arguments and adding further delay.

“We fully accept that there must be reasonable compensation for patients harmed through clinical negligence, but this needs to be balanced by society’s ability to pay. By setting the rate with reference to ‘low risk’ rather than ‘very low risk’ investments, this more accurately reflects evidence of the way in which claimants choose to invest their compensation payments.

“This, along with the proposed regular review of the rate at least every three years, gives the market greater certainty, frees up money that could be spent on frontline care and reduces the need for extensive Government intervention in individual markets, with the cost, inflexibility and over-regulation that inevitably brings.”

Ends

For further information contact Richard Hendry on 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.