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New act could give rise to more complaints against doctors

Armen Hareyan's picture

The NHS Redress Act should make clinical negligence cases simpler and less costly, but it may create more, not fewer, complaints warn experts in this week's BMJ.

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The current system for patients to obtain compensation after medical error has been much criticised by the government, writes barristers Richard Furniss and Sarah Ormond-Walshe. It is seen as complex, slow, and costly, both in terms of legal fees and staff time. Patients are said to be dissatisfied with the lack of explanation and apologies, and the system is believed to encourage defensiveness and secrecy in the health service.

The new NHS redress scheme aims to improve on the present system.

The scheme will apply to hospital care in England and Wales and will allow negligence claims to be made without court involvement. Redress may include an apology, explanation, or compensation up to