Lawyers working in the medical negligence (or clinical negligence as it is also known) field have seen some interesting developments during the past 18 months. Firstly there was a predictable reduction in enquiries as everyone complied with lockdown and showed their support for the inundated NHS. For some people this meant not looking to claim compensation for injuries they had suffered as the result of negligence because they felt uncomfortable doing so. Then as things started to ease, those with serious potential claims realised that they needed to take action to put themselves and their families as far as possible back into the position, financial or otherwise, that they were in before their medical injury occurred and enquiries started to increase a little once again.
Meanwhile, at the height of the pandemic some of the key parties involved in medical injury claims worked closely together to introduce the Covid-19 Clinical Negligence Protocol (C19P) to try to speed up amicable resolution, and reduce confrontation, for people with genuine claims. Those involved were NHS Resolution, the Society of Clinical Injury Lawyers (SCIL) and Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA).
Amongst other measures the C19P encourages both those making a claim and those defending one to be flexible about requests for extensions of time in order to provide the information needed by the others involved in the claim. This acknowledges that with the recent pressures on the NHS it was unfair to expect responses in the usual timescales.
The general positive trends coming out of this new regime are that more claims are being resolved successfully without going to Court, costs to the NHS in resolving the claims are dropping, and claims are in the main being resolved more quickly. There has been an increased use of alternative forms of dispute resolution, such as mediation, and with many of these taking place on digital platforms such as Cloud Video Platform, Microsoft Teams or Zoom the process is speeded up and costs are reduced.
It appears that C19P is here to stay for the time being at least and even with the pandemic being brought under control there are certainly benefits to all concerned to continue with the spirit of the Protocol and to approach claims with a view to resolution rather than confrontation.
If you, or a family member, has suffered an injury as a result of clinical negligence or negligence within the care community, please contact us on 01945 461456.
This article aims to supply general information, but it is not intended to constitute advice. Every effort is made to ensure that the law referred to is correct at the date of publication and to avoid any statement which may mislead. However, no duty of care is assumed to any person and no liability is accepted for any omission or inaccuracy. Always seek advice specific to your own circumstances.
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