By Lisa Cheyne, Medico-Legal Manager, SpecialistInfo

Image © Tero Vesalainen

Medico Legal News, Issue 4

By Lisa Cheyne, Medico-Legal Manager, SpecialistInfo

Issue 4

NHS Litigation Authority launches mediation service

The NHS LA launched its new mediation service last December with the announcement of its panel following a public tender. The service follows a successful pilot and has been designed to support injured claimants, their families and healthcare staff in working together towards resolution without the need to go to court.

The contracts have been awarded to the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR), Trust Mediation, and Costs Alternative Dispute Resolution (CADR) for an initial period of two years.

Helen Vernon, Chief Executive of the NHS Litigation Authority says: “Mediation is an excellent forum for dispute resolution and provides injured patients and their families with an opportunity for face- to-face explanations and apologies when things go wrong and reducing the need for unnecessary litigation.”

Visit for more information.

The Department of Health launched: Introducing Fixed Recoverable Costs in Lower Value Clinical Negligence Claims - A Consultation.

The consultation, launched on Monday 30 January 2017, aims to seek views on proposal for a mandatory system of fixed recoverable costs for lower value clinical negligence claims in England and Wales.

The proposed fixed recoverable costs scheme aims to improve the efficiency and cost- effectiveness of clinical negligence claims
by supporting:

The consultation closes at 11:45pm on 1 May 2017.

More information can be found on the website on the GOV.UK Fixed recoverable costs for clinical negligence claims webpage.

The GMC have released new guidance for doctors on Confidentiality: good practice in handling patient information

Revised guidance on confidentiality will come into effect for all doctors practising in the UK from 25 April 2017.

The updated guidance, released in January 2017, contains information relevant to doctors acting as expert witnesses, for example whendisclosure of confidential medical information is required by law or to help a coroner, procurator fiscal or other similar officer with an inquest or fatal accident inquiry.

You can find the latest version of this guidance on the GMC website at

MOJ announces it will increase the small claims limit for 'RTA-related personal injury' claims to £5,000 in 2018

Announcing the Prisons and Courts Bill on 23 February 2017, the Ministry of Justice said it will impose a new threshold of £2,000 for all other personal injury claims.

The original proposal was to increase the limit across all small claims, but the reform is still likely to be unpopular with claimant lawyers who face being effectively removed from low-value whiplash claims altogether.

There will also be a ban on any offers to settle whiplash claims without providing medical evidence. The ban and compensation tariffs will both require primary legislation and will form part of the

Prisons and Courts Bill. Justice minister Sir Oliver Heald said: 'We are determined to get a grip on the widespread compensation culture that unfairly impacts millions of motorists through higher premiums. So we are cracking down on minor, exaggerated and fraudulent whiplash claims. And we expect insurers to fulfil their promise and put the money saved back in the pockets of the country's drivers.'

The amounts cover both whiplash claims and 'minor' psychological claims – for example travel anxiety or shock.

The impact on MedCo and the amount of work for experts could be severe, if these changes lead to an increase in accident victims being forced to act for themselves, and could result in experts needing to demand their fees upfront.


The GMC have released new guidance for doctors on Confidentiality: good practice in handling patient information

On 2 March 2017 the CQC presented their findings from their programme of NHS acute comprehensive inspections since late 2013.

In this time, they completed inspections of all 136 NHS acute non-specialist trusts and all 17 specialist trusts.

They found that most hospitals are delivering good quality care and encourage trusts to follow good practice to improve their own services.

But they also found that some trusts have problems with the quality of care they are delivering in a particular core service, even in some trusts rated good overall.

All hospitals told the inspectors that patient safety was their top priority, but too often they did not have an effective safety culture or reliable systems to ensure this. Many of the inefficiencies flagged could be avoided, such as hospital acquired infections, or are caused by poorly coordinated care.

When something does go wrong, the CQC recommends that a sincere and timely apology should be offered, and any actions taken to improve processes to prevent the same happening again should be communicated.

Staff should understand and fulfil their responsibilities to raise concerns and report incidents and near misses, and should be fully supported when they do so.

In hospitals rated good or outstanding, the CQC noted that the trust boards had worked hard to create a culture where staff felt valued and empowered to suggest improvements and question poor practice. Where the culture was based around the needs and safety of patients, staff at all levels understood their role in making sure that patients were always put first.

The full report can be downloaded as a PDF from: