Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
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Blog: Let's mention the good news in the NHSLA annual report

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Let's mention the good news in the NHSLA annual report
Deborah Evans | 29 Jul 2016

While the NHSLA was keen to mention the rising cost of claims, there was also some good news in its annual report:

New claims have fallen by eight per cent.  There is quite a time lag before a claim settles. This year’s reduction in ‘new’ claims should, over time, be reflected in a reduced number of claims settling. This may, in turn, lead to falling legal costs in the future.  Not such a ‘ticking time bomb’ as the headlines would have us believe then.

So, do fewer claims mean that fewer people have been injured during medical procedures? If only! That would be excellent news indeed. However, we can’t assume that fewer claims necessarily mean fewer injuries as it could be due to all sorts of reasons. For example, the reduction may be the positive impact of the duty of candour reforms. If hospitals apologise quickly, and give answers, it can make the world of difference to someone in search of justice. An apology costs nothing, but is extremely important to the victim or their family.  The fact that fewer people feel the need to resort to the legal process is a good thing.

Sadly, the NHSLA report revealed that obstetric cases – birth injuries – still remain its biggest spend. Year-on-year, the cases are there, with no real fall in the amount of lives ruined and opportunities stolen. When met with a wall of silence, the legal route can be the only one remaining for bereaved parents. The Royal College of Pathologists report that couples whose babies are stillborn are being forced to sue the NHS as a means to get some answers.

Wherever APIL sees an article about legal costs, we remind the press that behind every cost is a person with an unnecessary injury, or worse still, a needless death. If the NHS wants to reduce the rising cost of claims, it should reduce the injuries it inflicts on patients. We know clinical negligence cases are hard-fought with many drivers behind their costs. But the very bottom line is that fewer injuries mean fewer claims, and lower costs. It’s as simple as that.

Past blog entries

Accident and negligence: what’s the difference and why does it matter? , 02 Aug 2021
Patient safety problems risk waning public confidence in the NHS , 20 May 2021
Consumers will not benefit from Do-it-Yourself whiplash reforms, 28 Jan 2021
Effects of a change in the discount rate: what happens when a review is expected? , 16 Dec 2020
Three per cent drop in premiums does not reflect massive insurer savings, 09 Nov 2020
What help is out there for families when someone is injured?, 02 Nov 2020
Blindly heading into the unknown for injured people?, 09 Dec 2019
Lessons in looking after one another , 18 Nov 2019

About this blog

Deborah Evans

I'm Deborah Evans, APIL's Chief Executive Officer. I shall be using this blog to keep you informed about campaigning and political work carried out by APIL.