NHS Redress Scheme

8

2000

The scheme is intended to provide an alternative to litigation for the cases that fall within its ambit, including addressing the delays and legal costs inherent in the existing system. Indeed, “the type of litigation of which the medical profession is most aware is the claim for damages for professional negligence. It is notorious that the number and size of claims has grown…” . By terms of the NHS Redress Bill, patients will no longer have to go to court to get compensation, care, apologies and investigations if something goes wrong with their NHS hospital treatment or care. The scheme is aimed to ensure that NHS money goes directly on benefitting the patient with less spent on legal costs. The Bill empowers the Secretary of State to establish an NHS Redress Scheme and entrusts the providers and commissioners of hospital services with the duty of ensuring that patients receive a more consistent, speedy and appropriate response to clinical negligence. Indeed, the need for such a system was long overdue. Under the current tort system, legal proceedings for medical injury are frequently conducted in an atmosphere of confrontation, acrimony, misunderstanding and bitterness. It is seen that more emphasis is given on revealing minimum information on things that went wrong, defending clinical decisions that were taken and only reluctantly releasing information. Prospects that an injured patient will receive due compensation are mired in uncertainty and, when achieved, may involve many years of stressful legal action, causing enormous expense.