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Legal Action

Volume 406: debated on Monday 9 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on NHS trusts suing employees following legal action in which the trust accepted liability for the actions of those employees; if he will require NHS trusts and NHS foundation trusts not to take such action; and if he will make a statement on the position of the National Health Service Litigation Authority with regard to this. [116840]

Guidance has been issued to the national health service concerning arrangements for handling clinical negligence claims against NHS staff, NHS Indemnity—Arrangements for Handling Clinical Negligence Claims Against NHS Staff, HSG(96)48. The guidance contains an express provision against NHS bodies seeking to recover any proportion of the costs incurred in settling clinical negligence claims from health care professionals or others covered by NHS Indemnity:

"They (NHS bodies) should not seek to recover their costs either in part or in full from the health care professional concerned or from any indemnities they may have."
Subject to Parliamentary approval, the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill will provide for NHS foundation trusts to have access to schemes administered by the NHS Litigation Authority on the same basis as NHS trusts.