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15 August 2012

Doctors blame 'no win, no fee' for boom in legal actions

Compensation claims for clinical negligence have gone through the roof, with the head of the UK's Medical Defence Union claiming the rise of legal action is 'unmatched' in the company's 126-year history.

Now where did I leave that syringe?

MDU chairman Chris Evans also revealed that the professional indemnity mutual – which insures clinicians against claims – will campaign to persuade British ministers to cut the costs involved with damages awards.

Standards of care

According to the Law Gazette newspaper, the MDU’s annual report shows that in 2011 the organisation saw an increase of around 10 per cent in the number of active claims being managed by its claims team.
MDU head of claims Jill Harding said: ‘The increase in claim numbers is not, we believe, driven by deteriorating standards of care, or a change in the underlying type of incidents that are giving rise to claims. Many claims reported in 2011 relate to events that took place several years ago, and while we cannot know all of the reasons behind any patient’s decision to bring a claim, it seems likely that the continuing availability of no win, no fee arrangements to fund cases is a factor.'

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