Written by Trevor Ward, Senior Solicitor and Chief Assessor for the Law Society’s Medical Negligence panel.
It is that time of the year when the NHSR publish its annual accounts for 2019/2020. Headlines indicate this is the first year since the NHSR took over responsibility for GP claims from 1 April 2019.
New schemes to come
There were 404 such claims made. Under the terms of the Coronavirus Act 2020, the NHSR launched a new scheme CNSC (The Clinical Negligence Scheme for Coronavirus) in April 2020.
This CNSC is the latest addition to join several other schemes the NHSR manages, including the NHS Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts (CNST), which we are all familiar.
An increase in CNST claims
This year saw an increase in CNST claims alone, of about 1.53%. This was a contradiction against a reported NHS hospital ‘episode activity’ increase of 23%; so that looks good i.e. less mistakes being pursued (not necessarily made) per hospital interaction.
As always, cost of claims and success features in the report. It appears that the cost of claims increased slightly for Claimants and Defendants in legal costs per se, and there was a slight increase in damages awarded.
However, future prospective liabilities have gone down for the first time in many years. This is largely due to the change in the discount rate and reduction in the future measured risk of inflation.
Room for optimism?
The number of claims made and settled on behalf of claimants pre and post litigation stands at 60%. These are made up of 71.5% without proceedings and 27.9% with proceedings.
After trial, 0 .6%, with the NHSR losing more at trial and settling considerably more after proceedings than winning.
The report was optimistic about the benefits and future of ADR and mediation, which is of course welcome, but was perhaps too optimistic about the Early Notification Scheme success for birth injury cases.
These figures do not appear to represent the view of Claimant practitioners on the ground.
With an increase in the schemes being managed and the overall five-year strategy set out by the NHSR, they are going to have their work cut out and it is pleasing to note there is a plan to increase their capacity.