A new Rapid Resolution and Redress Scheme has apparently been recommended by the Health Secretary to deal with the 500 or so cases each year of avoidable harm to babies.
Currently for every 1,000 births in England, more than 7 are either born dead or die shortly after birth.
The UK’s stillbirth rates are amongst the highest in Western Europe.
AVMA welcomes the scheme, but warns that the no fault compensation scheme should not short change brain damaged children and their families.
Unfortunately, whilst an early resolution and compensation scheme is welcome, it seems the scheme proposes to limit the amount of compensation paid out regardless of the injured child’s actual needs.
In such cases, it is important that the families are not short changed as a cap on compensation would deprive such children and their families of the compensation and the support that they need.
Another concern is that families could be forced to access only services which are on offer from their local NHS or Local Authority, placing even more pressure on the providers of these services with limited resources available to meet this additional need.
Currently families whose claims are dealt with through the court can opt to access such services in the private sector to ensure they access the best possible available services.
Finally, in such a situation it is imperative that the victims should be seen to be adequately compensated for injuries caused by the wrong doer (NHS). The judicial system in this country is the envy of the world and nothing must be seen to be done to remove or limit that access to justice in particular when dealing with victims of negligent medical treatment.
The Government appears to be more concerned with dealing with the symptoms of the problem, i.e. saving of legal costs rather than to actually tackle the cause of the problem, namely improving standards of service, although it is suggesting that is the reason behind the introduction of the scheme.
It remains to be seen whether or not the scheme actually improves levels of service and whilst at the same time limiting the cost to the NHS/the Government.
If you have been affected by any issues in this article, please contact Parisa Costigan, specialist personal injury solicitor/partner at Coole Bevis LLP for a free no obligation chat on 01403 224608 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.