The British Medical Association plans further talks with the Department of Health regarding a no-fault compensation scheme for medical accidents.
Leaders of the BMA recently met with officials of the Chancellor’s department, which was said to be “receptive” to such a scheme. The BMA argued that a no-fault compensation scheme should reduce the amount of money that is spent on lawyers’ fees to defend these cases. The lawyers’ bills can add up to millions of pounds each year.
The move follows a report last year by Sir Peter Middleton, former Treasury Permanent Secretary, which highlighted the problems of “excessive secrecy” in the NHS.
“Medicine is shrouded with considerations of privacy which seem to breed excessive secrecy – a tendency enhanced by the ever-present fear of legal proceedings,” he argued.
BMA secretary, Mac Armstrong, had been concerned about money spent on legal fees: “The evidence is that allegations against NHS Trusts have a lower chance of success than any other category of legal aid, and yet they are costing millions of pounds a year for Trusts simply to defend, and then they have no possibility of reclaiming these costs.”
He added that the focus should be on patients who wanted an explanation of a bad outcome.