Kerry Underwood

MEDICAL DEFENCE UNION: A SUITABLE CASE FOR TREATMENT

with 15 comments


The Medical Defence Union provides indemnity to doctors, dentists and other healthcare professionals.

In July 2014 it said that the total bill for hospital claims could cost each taxpayer at least £1,000.00 a year if inflation continues at the current pace (Law Society Gazette 18 July 2014).

As I pointed out in my blog – The NHS Lying Authority At It Again, the total cost of claims in 2013/14 was £1.244 billion, that is £20.74 per UK resident.

Based on the inflation figures for July 2014, given by the Office for National Statistics on 20 August 2014, that is 1.6%, it will take 2,967 years on a straight line basis before the annual cost reaches £1,000.00 per person, that is the year 4981.

In fact the total expenditure by the National Health Service Litigation Authority on clinical negligence and non-clinical claims dropped in 2013/14 as compared with 2012/13.

Dr Christine Tomkins, Chief Executive of the Medical Defence Union, referred to an award of £9 million against one surgeon in one case and said that at the current rate of inflation that will have doubled in seven years. That is nonsense. Using the Consumer Price Index inflation figure for July 2014 of 1.6% it would take, on a straight line basis, 62 years, not seven years, for any figure to double. The actual rate over seven years will be 11.2%, not 100%.

How can someone in that position spout this rubbish? Why does the Law Society Gazette publish it without the sort of criticism that I am making here?

Extraordinarily the Medical Defence Union wants, in clinical negligence cases, a cap on the level of damages for future care costs and loss of earnings awards of three times the national average salary.

Thus a young high earner is paralysed due to clinical negligence and can never work again and needs permanent care. He or she would receive just £79,500.00 for loss of earnings for the rest of his or her life and a further £79,500.00 for future care costs, based on the current average earnings of £26,500 a year.

In fact such future care costs run to millions of pounds.

Such a limit would be immoral. It would also not bear scrutiny under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to a fair trial, and would also be an unjustified deprivation of property contrary to Article 1 of the First Protocol to the Convention.

In any event the cost of looking after such a seriously injured person, in the absence of a proper damages award, would fall upon the state anyway. So nothing would be gained.

Why does the Medical Defence Union think that its members alone, of all the people in the United Kingdom, should have the consequences of their negligence limited in this way?

Why does the Medical Defence Union think its members should be above the law?

Does the Medical Defence Union propose this for all injuries, howsoever caused? If not, why not? I wonder how a surgeon catastrophically injured in a car crash would feel getting just £79,500.00 for future care costs for the rest of his or her life and just £79,500.00 to represent maybe 30 years loss of earnings.

Organisations like the Medical Defence Union give trades unions a bad name.

See my related blogs:-

INSURERS AT IT AGAIN (1) AND (2),

CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE – DEFENDANTS AT IT AGAIN (3),

EVER SEEN WORSE TH>N MORE TH>N? – INSURERS AT IT AGAIN (6)

INSURERS AT IT AGAIN ? (4)

INSURERS AT IT AGAIN (5)

SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS IN PERSONAL INJURY

DIRECT LINE OR DIRECT LYING? – INSURERS AT IT AGAIN (7)

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Written by kerryunderwood

August 21, 2014 at 9:50 am

Posted in Uncategorized

15 Responses

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  1. Good morning,

    I read your blog and articles avidly. They are v useful source of up to date information.

    I am a claimant solicitor.

    I havent read tge article from the gazette but one query does arise from your post.

    If the piece in the gazette refers to taxpayers , then there are fewer of these than individuals in the uk?

    It may make little difference but it doesnt seem to me to be a like for like comparison ?

    Regards

    Graeme Hughes
    .

    Sent from Samsung tablet

    Graeme Hughes

    August 21, 2014 at 10:03 am

    • Graeme
      Thank-you. You are right, but taxpayers is a virtually meaningless term as specific tax revenue is never earmarked for any particular Government expenditure. Everyone pays VAT for example, so everyone is a taxpayer and in my view the UK total population is synonymous with taxpayers. People like the MDU like to limit this as it makes the expenditure per person seem higher. I understand that their figure for taxpayers is 31 million, but I have no idea what that is based upon.

      Kerry

      kerryunderwood

      August 21, 2014 at 10:09 am

  2. I am a Claimant lawyer and have dealt with Clin Neg for over 30 years.
    Where I believe there can be little or no argument that clinical negligence has occurred and that on balance damage has been sustained, and, where there has subsequently been a full recovery for the Claimant I invariably send a letter to the hospital/GP/Health provider setting out the arguments on negligence/causation and put forward a Part 36 offer to settle at the same time as applying for records and before taking out insurance or obtaining expert reports etc. I am able to do this quite often surprisingly. These are really what I consider to be the “no brainer” cases.
    This represents a huge potential saving to the NHS/MPS however I invariably receive a letter requesting a fully compliant letter of claim before they will even consider my offer in any way. I always also give them an opportunity and time to investigate the claim properly if they request it, up to the 4 months required by protocol. I feel that if I can make a determination on balance whether a claim is more likely than not to succeed based on simply the information I have received from the Claimant (and possibly an expert spoken to pro bono) then surely they will equally be able to make a similar determination given that they have access to the medical expertise of their staff or member at very least.
    They complain about the money they have to pay out yet when given the opportunity to settle a claim in a manner that would save them thousands of pounds yet the stance they take forces those costs to be incurred simply because they are unwilling to deal with the matter in a reasonable and sensible way.
    The NHS and insurers like MPS need to look at their own stance and procedures as I am sure I am not the only one who deals with cases this way in an effort to save the NHS and Health providers such money as I can without compromising justice for the Claimant.
    I would be interested to hear from anyone else who has the same experience.

    Dawn Slow

    August 21, 2014 at 10:31 am

    • Dawn

      Thank you very much. That reflects my own experience over pretty much the same period. If all clinical negligence claims were defended by solicitors who also do claimant clinical negligence I estimate that claimant legal costs could be halved and the total amount paid out in damages would not rise.

      Kerry

      kerryunderwood

      August 21, 2014 at 10:37 am

  3. ‘In July 2014 it said that the total bill for hospital claims could cost each taxpayer at least £1,000.00 a year if inflation continues at the current pace (Law Society Gazette 18 July 2014).’

    The MDU’s interests do not lie with the NHS or the tax payer. The MDU has members carrying our private treatment (Did you know most dentists are not employees of the NHS?) who pay premiums and want to pay less.

    I think there is a strong case that the claims industry has long injected the NHS with much needed cash by way of NHS charges. I am concerned that the Jackson reforms means that less claims will be brought and the NHS will in turn receive less by way of NHS charges and this will ultimately play to this Government’s arguments for the ongoing dismantling of the NHS.

    And, as you say, depriving care costs simply shifts the burden back to the tax payer.

    robertpettitt

    August 21, 2014 at 9:33 pm

  4. […] See also INSURERS AT IT AGAIN (1) AND (2), CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE – DEFENDANTS AT IT AGAIN (3) and MEDICAL DEFENCE UNION: A SUITABLE CASE FOR TREATMENT […]

  5. […] also INSURERS AT IT AGAIN (1) AND (2), CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE – DEFENDANTS AT IT AGAIN (3),  MEDICAL DEFENCE UNION: A SUITABLE CASE FOR TREATMENT and INSURERS AT IT AGAIN […]

  6. […] MEDICAL DEFENCE UNION: A SUITABLE CASE FOR TREATMENT […]

  7. […] MEDICAL DEFENCE UNION: A SUITABLE CASE FOR TREATMENT […]

  8. […] MEDICAL DEFENCE UNION: A SUITABLE CASE FOR TREATMENT […]

  9. […] MEDICAL DEFENCE UNION: A SUITABLE CASE FOR TREATMENT […]

  10. […] MEDICAL DEFENCE UNION: A SUITABLE CASE FOR TREATMENT […]

  11. […] MEDICAL DEFENCE UNION: A SUITABLE CASE FOR TREATMENT […]

  12. […] MEDICAL DEFENCE UNION: A SUITABLE CASE FOR TREATMENT […]


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