Medical negligence claims – the real facts

Amidst all the controversy of compensation culture and the planned removal of medical negligence claims from the scope of public funding (as legal aid is now called), I was interested to come across some actual facts about the real cost of medical negligence [often referred to as clinical negligence] cases, which were revealed in a series of exchanges between MPs and ministers in the House of Commons recently. 

Firstly according to 2008/9 National Health Service statistics, just 29% of medical negligence claims are run using legal aid (this refers to the statistics for which the method of funding is actually recorded). So that means, if my maths is correct, the vast majority [i.e. 71%] of medical negligence cases are run without the use of legal aid at all – with almost all of the remaining cases presumably being run under nom win no fee medical negligence agreements. 

A second interesting fact that came out, was according to the Department of Health, the likely effect on the NHS of the removal of medical claims from the scope of public funding would actually be cost neutral – so that’s another argument for removing the medical negligence claim from the scope of legal aid out the window. 

And finally, it’s clear that the number of medical negligence cases actually run using legal aid is really actually rather small. Just 2,897 public funding certificates were granted to medical negligence solicitors to run compensation claims in 2010 – 11. 

After all the hyperbole and scaremongering about the compensation culture, it’s interesting to see the statistics.