Government looking at voluntary compensation awards when medical staff have made mistakes

Doctor and patient

Health secretary to look at compensation awards when negligence identified

In a bold move the beleaguered health secretary Jeremy Hunt has confirmed that the government intends to consider making voluntary compensation awards to victims of medical negligence. As part of a series of measures to help improve safety particularly in neo-natal care, the government is looking at ways to introduce redress payments without pushing victims and their families towards litigation. At the moment the NHS take a very robust stance when it comes to handling complaints, even when it is clear that avoidable errors have been made. NHS litigation costs are in the news this week following tabloid coverage of the £400m plus that the NHS is spending on legal fees. However this headline sum fails to take into account the fact that the NHS fail very often to admit blame and handle genuine instances of negligence in an more efficient manner. 

The changes to be announced by the health secretary in Parliament this week should go some way to improving the current system which in the view of many does not work in favour of the patients.