We wish to move away from formal legal proceedings where possible.

The process rarely benefits either those who are injured and find themselves in the process to recover compensation, or 'future' patients for whose care public funds need to be preserved and for whom lessons need to be learned to prevent repeated incidents.

There are necessary steps which must be taken to strike the balance between protecting public funds and delivering compensation, but there are also shared aims which mean that even where there is disagreement as to what happened there is still an opportunity for patients and the healthcare system to work around differences to find resolution.

Our strategy will see more patients receiving their compensation entitlement without court proceedings. Healthcare staff will spend more time in delivering care, including the care inherent in managing the immediate aftermath of an incident, and less time in protracted and uncertain court proceedings.

In supporting healthcare staff by developing a Peer Support and Advice service, we will help them to manage incidents locally and without fear, preserving the relationship with the patient and their family. Learning will be evidenced and shared, ultimately helping to improve safety for all patients.

In responding to the NHS Five Year Forward View with indemnity which responds to different models of care delivery, the patient journey will be seamless and there will be no need to deal with different insurers and no risk of being unfairly precluded or restricted from obtaining due compensation if something goes wrong.

Evaluating the benefits will be challenging as it inevitably means assessing that the patient experience is better than it would otherwise be, or that an incident has not occurred due to improved learning. A reduction in the indemnity spend which releases money for patient care would be another measure however the current upward trajectory is a function of past events which have already occurred.

We will

  • Monitor the ‘litigation rate’ and set ourselves a target to keep claims for compensation out of court whilst trying new approaches to resolution.
  • Increase the number of cases which are mediated and evaluate the patient’s experience of the process.
  • Work with the claimant legal market to capture patient expectation of the compensation process, the ‘motivation to claim’ and the extent to which changes to the process improve how these expectations are met.
  • Reduce unnecessary legal costs and improve the ratio of legal costs to damages whilst pursuing a long-term aim to ‘turn the curve’ of indemnity spend.
  • Capture patient stories and share and learn from them.