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National Health Service Litigation Authority

Volume 709: debated on Monday 16 March 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 10 February (WA 178–79), whether, if a case is settled by the NHS Litigation Authority, any admission of liability will affect the position of the doctor against whom the case has been brought, including in deciding on a merit award. [HL1855]

The NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) provides support to members that are the subject to litigation claims. Claims may be brought against National Health Service bodies because they are vicariously liable for the acts, and omissions to act, of their employees. The NHSLA does not settle cases brought against individual employees of NHS bodies, as employees are not eligible to be members of the NHSLA's schemes.

When a claim is made against an NHS body following an isolated act of negligence by an employee, an investigation to uncover the facts of the case will be undertaken. An admission of liability by an NHS body in a clinical negligence case does not itself affect the position of a doctor who was involved in that case. However, the admission does not preclude the trust from taking action to address a doctor's performance following on from that investigation. This may affect the position of the doctor.

Clinical Excellence Awards at national and local level recognise the additional contributions that individual consultants make to the NHS, over and above carrying out their normal responsibilities. The process for deciding on applications for these awards follows a well-established procedure and is quite separate to clinical negligence matters.