The medical defence specialists MDDUS has urged the government to go further with its reform of fixed recoverable costs (FRC) in claims of clinical negligence.
MDDUS, which supports and defends more than 56,000 doctors and dentists across the United Kingdom, said it welcomed the first steps to introduce FRC in lower damages clinical negligence cases.
Tristan Sayer, deputy head of legal at MDDUS, said: “It has taken the government years to resolve the position on Fixed Recoverable Costs in clinical negligence cases, so it would be churlish now not to acknowledge that their introduction in claims up to £25,000 is a good first step.
“However, the benefit FRCs bring to controlling the costs of clinical negligence claims are significant and the Department of Health and Social Care must not stop here.
“It is, of course, important that there is reasonable, fair compensation for patients who have been harmed but this must be balanced against the impact it has on taxation, other pressures on the NHS and indemnity costs borne by individual clinicians.
“We would like to see the system of FRC being both open to adjustment, so it moves with inflation, and for the DHSC to come forward with a revised upper limit where FRCs apply.
“It seems to us that claims up to the value of £250,000 is a good place to start.”
Chris Kenny, CE at MDDUS, said: “It is imperative that the FRC scheme is reviewed at regular intervals, to ensure it is achieving its stated aims.
“We will also look to the DHSC to ensure the system is straightforward, workable and fair for claimants and defendants alike.
“The rising costs of clinical negligence claims are unsustainable, and we have been pushing government to take action to tackle this problem for many years.
“So, while this FRC scheme for lower damages claims is a welcome first step forward, it is only a small part of the wider changes we consider are needed as part of an overall reform of the law of tort.”
The Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS) is a mutual organisation that protects the professional interests of more than 56,000 doctors and dentists across the United Kingdom, offering access to indemnity, support and legal advice.
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