During the summer, the National Audit Office is due to publish its report, ‘managing the cost of clinical negligence claims,’ focused on work undertaken by the Department of Health and NHS Resolution, formerly known as the NHS Litigation Authority.
The objective is to analyse the trend towards increased costs and evaluate both bodies’ efforts to reduce them.
NHS Resolution’s annual report shows that the average value of medical litigation awards is increasing by around 9% per year - well above inflation. Its 2017/18 business plan estimates that the cost of claims would at least double without its involvement in negotiations and defending the defensible cases.
It should be appreciated that there are inflationary pressures beyond its direct control, such as the rise in general damages and future care costs.
It is expected that the report will:
- draw inspiration from recent consultations on fixed recoverable costs and the future assessment of the discount rate
- discuss initiatives to reduce claims at the trust level, such as ‘Sign up to safety,’ and other forms of redress, such as mediation
- direct recommendations with a mandate to provide a follow-up report to review any changes made