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The current medical negligence costs debate which, sadly, is currently being dominated by tabloid newspapers and the NHS Litigation Authority, has received some much-needed balance after the former CEO of the NHS Litigation Authority, now Chief Executive of the Law Society, Catherine Dixon, set out the real primary cause of NHS legal costs.

Ms Dixon confirms that last year the NHS spent almost half a billion pounds on obstetrics claims – mainly brain-damaged children, to cover the support and adaptations they will need to help them in the future.  Further, the by the end of March 2015 the NHSLA had £12.5 billion of known claims on its books plus liabilities for the next 80 years for the care of costs of people negligently injured.

Shockingly, she confirms the known costs of present and future liabilities are 28.6 billion.  That’s £28.6 billion of tax payers’ money the NHS is going to spend for negligence they committed.

She calls for action to be taken to protect these babies and avoid such claims and points out that instead of investing to protect these people the Department of Health instead wants to try and lay the blame on claimant solicitors and reduce their fees which, as she quite rightly recognises, is likely to reduce access to justice and lessen the quality of the profession.

Think about it – if it was you or one of your family members left permanently disabled after a negligent act wouldn’t you want a high quality solicitor, and to have a full no-win-no-fee agreement?

The best way to reduce legal costs, and to keep the public safe, is always to reduce negligence but for as long as sloppy journalism dominates the media the Government won’t have to face up to this.

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