New Government proposals for fixing legal fees in medical negligence cases have been given a cautious welcome by lawyers.
The proposals, currently out to consultation, are for a fixed cap on all clinical negligence cases up to £25,000. The aim, says the Department of Health, is to prevent rising litigation costs within the NHS. Currently, there is no limit on legal costs that can be recouped. It is expected the new cap will save the NHS up to £45m a year.
The department cites an instance where costs of £83,000 were claimed for a case in which the patient was awarded £1,000. The total bill for the NHS was £1.5bn in the financial year 2015-16.
Announcing the proposals, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt (pictured) said: “It’s important that, when significant mistakes happen in the NHS, patients are able to have an open dialogue with a trust about what went wrong, receive reassurance of what is being learnt and can discuss what form of recompense or redress may be appropriate. Legal action should only be one part of this process.