This had parallels with the introduction of such schemes for non-comparable areas of the law such as Whiplash. A pre-consultation was issued in August 2015 with an intended implementation date of October 2016. Since then, there have been significant delays and changes at the Department of Health, the consultation eventual-ly being closing on 2nd May 2017 and the consideration of proposed reforms passed to the Ministry of Justice.
SCIL have consistently argued that the such proposals are fundamentally flawed, misunderstand the nature of the Clinical Injury Compensation Scheme, is not necessary from a cost saving point of view and would have the opposite effect to what is intended.
Amidst considerable Ministerial change, dissenting views from the legal sector, and on the advice of Lord Justice Jackson, the Government in 2018 via the Ministry of Justice, confirmed its intention to launch a further future consultation on Fixed Recoverable Costs in Clinical Negligence proposals following recommendations from the a working party of the Civil Justice Council, which is due to report imminently, SCIL have participated in this process, willingly and with a commitment to engage constructively on behalf of the member firms they represent.
Furthermore, removing the potential learning from such cases which could improve patient safety within the NHS, and is being determined by a flawed and ineffective process of the Civil Justice Council which is seemingly a pre-determined ‘tick-box’ exercise loaded against the interest of claimant lawyers and which will significantly impede access to justice for victims, patients and their families, the constituents you represent across the country.
The Terms of Reference were as follows:
SCIL has participated, along with other claimant lawyers, in the CJC led working group with great frustration, not least having submitted their own SCIL Scheme at the outset. This has been typified by little or no paperwork, seemingly unrepresentative or logically calculated membership, a lack of industry knowledge from the Chairman, briefings rather than discussions and a determination to follow a controversial pre and ill-conceived Law Society consideration of such issues.
SCIL has in parallel and at the urging of a former Secretary of State for Health, engaged with NHS Resolution (formerly the NHS Litigation Authority) as to how both sides Claimants and Defendants can work together to improve both process and NHS Learning from Clinical negligence cases. This again has been a slow and difficult process but indicates a willingness to agree to constructive reform.
Write to your Member of Parliament and to The Health Secretary and The Lord Chancellor.