Medicopolitical Digest

Litigation authority set up for the NHSGPs in inner London to get £35mReducing GPs' paperworkJuniors' contracts will be held by trusts in ScotlandMPs debate merits of commissioning and fundholdingGovernment updates health statistics

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.7015.1306 (Published 11 November 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1306
  1. Linda Beecham

    Litigation authority set up for the NHS

    A new NHS body, called the Litigation Authority, is being set up to administer the clinical negligence scheme for NHS trusts,a financial pooling arrangement to spread the cost of malpracticesettlements. Regulations to set the body up as a special healthauthority were laid before parliament last month (p 1250).

    Sir Bruce Martin QC was named as chairman designate of the authority,with Dr Oscar Craig and Mr Ronald Bradshaw as non-executivemembers. The authority will help with the establishment of theclinical negligence scheme (BMJ 1995;310:896) and be responsiblefor its operational effectiveness on behalf of the secretaryof state for health.

    The authority will be small, consisting of four non-executivemembers, a full time chief executive, part time finance andclinical directors, and about six support staff. It will receiveadvice on general policy issues from a policy steering groupelected by, and consisting of, representatives of the scheme.Day to day management has been subcontracted to the MedicalProtection Society.

    The health minister, Mr Gerald Malone, said that the majorityof problems about clinical standards were resolved at locallevel, but in those cases where patients wished to take thematter further the authority would be responsible for ensuringthat claims were handled sensitively and fairly. He added, “Thiswill safeguard patients' legitimate interests, while allowingNHS trusts to plan ahead with greater security.”

    Medical negligence costs in the NHS now exceed £150m ayear and are rising at an annual rate of 25%, due mainly toa rising …

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