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Failing NHS negligence system must change, say MPs

A major reform of the way NHS clinical negligence claims are handled in England is needed, MPs say.

The House of Commons' Health and Social Care Committee said the current system was too adversarial, leading to bitter and long legal fights for patients.

More than £2bn a year is paid out on claims, but 25% goes to legal fees.

An independent body should be set up to adjudicate on cases and the need to prove individual fault should be scrapped, the cross-party group said.

Instead, the focus should be whether the system failed, which the MPs believe would create a better culture for learning from mistakes.

The committee heard from families who had lost children or whose babies had been left with brain injuries from mistakes made during birth.

Parents described how they had to fight for years to get recognition for the harm that had been caused.

One woman criticised the "complacent attitude" of the hospital involved, saying they just wanted to put it down to one mistake and carry on as normal.

Another woman whose daughter died aged 20 months after errors in her care said she felt lessons had not been learnt despite a settlement in her favour. She said the whole process had left her feeling devastated.

The average length of time for these settlements was over 11 years, the committee was told.

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Source: BBC News, 27 April 2022


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