MEDICAL DEFENCE UNION: A SUITABLE CASE FOR TREATMENT
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.
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