Queen's speech offers opportunities says MDDUS - but government must listen on the detail

COMMENTING on proposals for a draft Patient Safety Bill and a Civil Liability Bill in the Queen's speech, MDDUS chief executive Chris Kenny said:

"We welcome the creation of the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) and the principle of creating a ‘safe space’ so that the NHS can learn from untoward incidents and make improvements across the system.

“But the benefits of such a change will not be realised unless the relationship between the HSIB and both the regulatory system and criminal investigations is specified in some detail to avoid professionals facing double jeopardy. The Government’s policy document did not provide the necessary clarity on this point, so we look forward to working with them to get this detail right.

“The Civil Liability Bill is also welcome, should Government decide that change to primary legislation is necessary in order to avoid a repeat of this year's debacle of a decision on the discount rate.

“That Bill could also potentially provide a vehicle to address the much-needed reforms to the law of tort which are essential to protect the NHS and its professional staff from ever-increasing liability claims. We hope that Government will not use the pressures of Brexit as an excuse to delay seizing this important opportunity or even missing it altogether."