Experts from across the Government, NHS and legal profession will come together to work on introducing a new cap on the amount of costs that lawyers can recover in clinical negligence cases. This will mean more money can be spent on the vital frontline NHS services we all rely on, rather than on excessive legal fees.
- There is currently no limit on legal costs that can be recouped by lawyers, and this takes vital funds away from frontline patient care. The NHS’s criminal negligence bill topped £1.6 billion in 2016-17.
- There are numerous examples of lawyers charging more than 80 times the amount awarded to the victims in minor claims. In one case, lawyers claimed £83,000 in legal costs for a case in which the patient was awarded £1,000.
- The proposed cap will be applied to all cases up to £25,000 and will help to save the NHS up to £45 million a year. The cap will sit alongside the Secretary of State’s relentless focus on patient safety and ambition to make the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world.
When things go wrong, we need a system that works for those who have suffered but also works for other patients, both in terms of making sure we learn from mistakes and also pay legal costs in a proportionate and reasonable way. However sometimes we end up paying legal fees that are much, much higher than the actual damages incurred – which may be good for lawyers but is a terrible use of money that should be spent on patient care.