Negligence in the NHS to Cost Taxpayers a Further £15.7 billion [9th Feb 2012]
A report released by MPs this week has indicated that the NHS is facing a bill of £15.7 billion to settle clinical negligence compensation claims. In fact this huge figure represents one seventh of the overall health service budget for the year and is more than 10% higher than the figure for last year. The money has already been put aside to care for those affected by mistakes made within the NHS by doctors, nurses and other staff. It has been suggested by the report that the ever increasing use of "no win no fee" lawyers is behind the year on year increase in this type of claim. However, the Public Accounts Committee who published the report has suggested that the government should have foreseen this trend and worked out ways to mitigate the cost to the public. In addition, savings could be made elsewhere to offset the cost. It is pointed out that advances in science are now allowing those injured by medical negligence to live longer and therefore require money for their care for longer periods of time. The Department of Health has pointed out that the government wants to strike a balance between access to compensation and making sure the payments are affordable.
It is thought that 97% of motor personal injury claims will now be able to be dealt with via an online system, rather than by hiring expensive lawyers. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has stated that they are pleased with new proposals from the government which will make it easier for people to claim for their injuries. The government has decided to extend the maximum amount which can be claimed via an online service from £10,000 to £25,000, which should allow 55,000 more claimants to use this method. The fast track process was first used in April 2010 and is a system which uses strict time limits to ensure a smooth process for the insurer and the claimant. Nick Starling from the ABI has commented that this is good news for all involved as claimants will get their money more quickly and will reduce the legal costs involved. The government is now looking to introduce a similar fast track system for those wanting to claim for workplace injuries and public liability claims.
An American lawyer has taken on the task of claiming compensation for those people who were involved in the sinking of the Concordia last month. So far, the company is representing 70 survivors including a number of Britons. It is thought that John Arthur Eaves is asking for $150,000 USD for each victim in compensation and he says that they deserve at least this much for the trauma caused. The company which owns the ship, Costa Cruises, have already made an offer of 11,000 Euros per passenger, which Eaves has described as disrespectful. He points out that some people will never return to a cruise ship and even some who are afraid to leave the house. Others have lost loved ones. He also states that the parent company Carnival which is based in the US should bear the cost. He says that Carnival set up the safety procedures and practises, which were what failed most people. Eaves would also like to see changes to maritime law.
Airbus is facing the prospect of huge compensation payouts after cracks were discovered in the wings of some of the A380 planes the company built. Safety checks have been ordered for the entire fleet of the super jumbo jets. Airbus has stated that the flaws to the wings do not represent any danger but the European Aviation Safety Agency has said that all planes in the fleet must be inspected. It is thought that the cracks appear over a few years of service and could affect the structural integrity of the plane unless they are identified and fixed. Airbus will pay the bill for the recall and checks and for any repair work which may be necessary. The cracks appear to start in bolt holes or on the brackets of the wings, but it has been pointed out by the makers that just a few of thousands of brackets holding the wing are affected on some planes. Any compensation payments made are expected to be in the millions.
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