Progress on fixed recoverable costs plans

MDDUS comments on the Department of Health and Social Care document summarising responses to its consultation on introducing fixed recoverable costs in lower value clinical negligence claims.

THE Department of Health and Social Care has published a summary of responses to its consultation on introducing fixed recoverable costs in lower value clinical negligence claims.

Commenting on its publication, MDDUS chief executive Chris Kenny said: "We are relieved to finally see progress on this important project, given that the Department had committed to having a fixed recoverable costs (FRC) scheme in operation by October 2016.

"We are pleased to see that the Department remains committed to delivering a FRC scheme and that the proposed working group is intended to publish recommendations by autumn 2018. Timescales on this cannot be allowed to slip further and we hope for a speedy implementation by the Government thereafter.

"FRC in clinical negligence cases is vital to halt the runaway increase in claimant costs and to protect resources for the delivery of frontline NHS care. The Department’s report fairly recognises the impact of excessive costs on claims in primary care and the savings that could be generated in primary care by the introduction of FRC.

"We welcome the recognition of the importance of including GP representatives on the defendant side in the working group and look forward to engaging with the Department on this important project.

"In order to have a real impact in terms of reducing the burden on the public purse, FRC is but one aspect of the necessary package of tort reform measures. As highlighted by the National Audit Office (NAO) report in September 2017, Managing the costs of clinical negligence in trusts, there is a need for an integrated approach and this is undoubtedly a key area for development.

"Finally, we remain of the view that a cap of £250,000 is both necessary and proportionate. The report also shows that the arguments in favour of a cap in excess of £25,000 have been well made. We look forward to discussing these points in more detail as part of the working group."