MDDUS welcomes Damages Bill

MDDUS has welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement on the Damages Bill as part of its Programme for Government for the next 12 months.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced an amendment in the law on the personal injury discount rate following a joint consultation with the UK Government. The discount rate is applied to awards of damages for future loss and reflects the claimant’s ability to invest their lump sum of damages and to receive a return on that investment.

The decision of Scottish ministers in March 2017 to follow the Lord Chancellor in changing the Discount Rate from 2.5% to minus 0.75% is leading to an increase in the size of compensation payments and to very significant new costs for the NHS and medical defence organisations (MDOs) such as the MDDUS. The Bill will also enable courts to impose Periodical Payment Orders when making an award of damages in respect of a personal injury.

Chris Kenny, Chief Executive of MDDUS, said: "We welcome the inclusion of this Bill in the legislative programme and would urge its introduction into law as early as possible.

"This is a positive first step but we would wish to see the Scottish Government move forward on defining the actual level of the discount rate and not just the system for setting it. We also hope that the UK Government in Westminster takes note of this important development and accelerates its own thinking around this important issue for our members and for patients."