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Government Urged to Increase Medical Legal Costs Cap

On 21st April 2017, the Medical Protection Society stated that the UK government should take further action to put a cap on legal costs incurred from clinical negligence cases to limit the amount of money lost by the National Health Services (NHS).

In January this year, a consultation was introduced to fixed recoverable costs in lower value clinical negligence claims. The consultation suggests a fixed price on legal fees that can be charged for cases of clinical negligence up to the value of £25,000 in Wales and England, a measure that is expected to yield around £45m in savings to the NHS a year. The consultation will close on 2nd May 2017.

The Medical Protection Society, who represents about 300,000 healthcare professionals in the UK, has stated that it agrees with the proposals and it also believes that the government needed to go one step further by including cases of up to £250,000 under the cap.

The Medical Protection Society has called on the government to make the “bold decision,” on the threshold to guarantee that opportunities for large NHS savings and a fairer system were not missed.

The Director of claims at the Medical Protection Society, Emma Hallinan, said that they fully support the introduction of mandatory fixed recoverable costs for claims of clinical negligence.

In 2015-16, the NHS paid out £1.5bn in clinical negligence costs, with legal costs accounting for 34 per cent of that bill, and that the government changing its policy on legal costs could save much needed funds of NHS, she added.

She also stated that the new scheme presents an opportunity to create a more balanced, fairer system while generating savings to the NHS, which can be used to deliver front line care. It is an opportunity that should not be wasted.

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