An interview with Mark Riley–Pitt of RK Harrison Insurance Services

The NHS is constantly under public scrutiny regarding the rising cost of claims brought against Foundation Trusts, more so currently given the challenges the NHS faces to reduce costs in accordance with the “Nicholson Challenge”.

It is the norm for public health providers in many countries around the world to insure their claims via the commercial sector purchasing commercial insurance to cover claims such as clinical negligence and personal injury - including countries such as Canada, USA, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore to name just a few. Government hospitals and clinics in these countries place insurance with highly specialised companies to address their cover, risks and claims management profiles to ultimately drive down incidents, claims and costs. Traditionally in the UK, however, only private sector healthcare providers purchase commercial insurance and claims against the NHS are funded from the public purse.

Since 1995, the NHS has effectively had no alternative but for clinical negligence and personal injury claims to be dealt with via the National Health Service Litigation Authority, which currently has outstanding claims valued at £18.8 billion.

Following a Government commissioned review into the handling of claims brought against the NHS, choice and competition is now emerging in the form of an alternative commercial insurance solution, offered by TRUST, led by brokers RK Harrison. As it stands currently, only Trusts who have attained Foundation status are able to buy commercial insurance. RK Harrison will assist Foundation Trusts in developing and implementing improved evidence led best practice, clinical risk management and risk mitigation.  This approach has reduced the frequency and severity of adverse clinical incidents elsewhere, ensuring limited funds are then best employed and maximising resources for frontline care.

Mark Riley-Pitt, Client Services Manager for TRUST comments “Foundation Trusts can now take advantage of commercial insurance with the world’s leading specialist clinical negligence insurers to provide a proven and long term risk solution across the whole spectrum of the UK healthcare sector.  What TRUST delivers is a bespoke solution that will deliver savings to the bottom line: simple as that.’’

TRUST offers ‘like for like’ cover, but promises to deliver a more cost effective, value for money insurance solution, that will reduce overall claims spend by:

  • Tailoring its claims service to provide a bespoke solution for each individual Foundation Trust
  • Having a sharper focus on risk management/patient care
  • An approach that is focused on speeding the claims settlement process and protecting reputations

TRUST will achieve this by taking a different approach that explicitly involves an Foundation Trust in every part of the claims process, so that there is ownership and understanding of claims but also reward for excellent risk management. Mark Riley-Pitt said “One size never fits all.  What TRUST offers is the benefit of comprehensive insurance cover (in terms of how the NHSLA currently indemnifies) but  a more cost effective overall solution. We will save Foundation Trusts money and specifically reward those Trusts  who are  focused on risk management. We have selected a variety of supplier partners, who have a more commercial and faster approach, that will provide a tailored solution that  meets the individual Foundation Trust’s needs…the bottom line here is that we are all about saving money for the NHS; everything we do in TRUST is focused on reducing claims spend”.

The level of interest in TRUST by the NHS has been considerable, evidenced by the attendance of over one hundred people who recently attended TRUST’s recent risk management  conference. Mark Riley-Pitt added, “Many Foundation Trusts feel they want further control and greater input on their claims, but likewise seek reward for focusing on excellent risk management. With TRUST, Foundation Trusts will be involved in every part of the process and no decision in litigation will be made without their input. Excellent risk management will be rewarded by ultimately reducing premium”.

Mark Riley-Pitt concluded “TRUST now offers the NHS a choice that is going to make a difference.  I appreciate that many Foundation Trusts will consider that the NHSLA has served them well. I would set them a challenge however - give us an opportunity to tailor a solution that will be better suited to their particular Trust. TRUST will deliver a bespoke claims insurance solution that focuses on two key areas: enhanced patient care and reduced claims spend. It’s a solution that has been successful elsewhere and it is a solution that will now be delivered in the UK. TRUST is not looking to replace the NHSLA, as we believe Trusts should have the freedom of choice. Trusts may return to the NHSLA at any time”.

For further information about TRUST, Mark can be contacted at Mark.Riley-Pitt@rkhis.com