LAW firms and “claims management” companies who encourage patients to sue the NHS will no longer be provided office or advertising space in NHS hospital in England.
NHS England says it has taken this action to protect patients, families, the NHS and taxpayers. It follows a consultation exercise and the new rules are being introduced through changes to the NHS Standard Contract.
Clinical negligence claims cost taxpayes around £1.7 billion in 2016/17, with legal costs accounting for 36 per cent of the total bill.
An NHS England spokesperson said: "Money spent defending speculative legal claims is money hospitals can’t then spend on looking after patients. That’s why legal firms who pursue the NHS should not advertise in or operate from our hospitals.
"From February, Trusts are now prohibited from entering or renewing agreements with firms who want to sue them.
"Staying in hospital is often a traumatic experience, one that is made worse by lawyers soliciting patients or their families for business – a practice we are also calling on Trusts to do all they can to stop."
The ban will come into force on 1 February 2018 but will not affect services offered by law firms who run programmes in major trauma centres providing pro bono services to patients and families who have been through “life-changing events”.