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Nhs: Clinical Negligence

Volume 670: debated on Thursday 3 March 2005

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asked Her Majesty's Government:How many cases brought against the National Health Service and supported by legal aid receive compensation from the National Health Service; and how many fail because of the lack of a substantiated base for the claim. [HL1373]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs
(Baroness Ashton of Upholland)

The Legal Services Commission (LSC) issued 6,064 legal aid certificates for clinical negligence matters during 2003–04. Of certificates issued, 4,912 were funded through the investigative stage and 2,320 of these were funded through proceedings. Some 530 cases received damages or other benefits following the investigative stage and 1,350 received damages following proceedings. It is not certain how many of these cases would have had the NHS as a defendant, but the LSC believes that this would be true in the majority of cases.Cases can fail for a number of reasons at either the investigative stage or following proceedings, but every publicly funded case is considered by a specialist accredited solicitor, and must pass the merits and cost-benefit tests set out in the funding code, so no case in which proceedings are undertaken will be baseless.