Scotland considers no-fault medical compensation

No-fault medical compensation may be introduced in Scotland, their government has revealed. By Jonathan Masterson.

An expert group has been set up to consider whether it would be feasible to bring in such a scheme, which would allow victims of injuries caused by medical treatment to be compensated without the need to establish negligence or blame in court.

Dr Peter Terry, chairman of the BMA in Scotland, said: ‘Too often the current system results in unpleasant, stressful, drawn-out procedures for all those involved, with significant legal bills incurred by the taxpayer. BMA Scotland welcomes the announcement of the creation an expert review group, and looks forward to contributing to the process.'

The group will be chaired by Sheila MacLean, director of the Institute of Law and Ethics in Medicine at Glasgow University, and will consist of members from the BMA, GMC, and RCN, as well as patient representatives.  Its report is expected by October 2010.

Evidence suggests that no-fault compensation reduces administrative and legal costs associated with handling claims, and is also much quicker - in New Zealand, which has a similar scheme, straightforward cases can be resolved in weeks, and all cases must be determined within nine months.

Between 2007/8 there were 182 medical negligence cases settled in Scotland, with a total payout of £14.5m.

GPletters@haymarket.com

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