Jeremy Hunt is due to make a speech today which sets out proposals to offer compensation automatically to parents of still born or brain damaged children when those injuries have arisen because of substandard care.
We await the detail of the proposals, but hope they will encourage the operation of the Duty of Candour and allow parents to immediately access the care and therapies that their child needs, without needing to rely on an over-stretched NHS. We know that early access to good, consistent physiotherapy, for example, can make an enormous difference to our clients.
Mr Hunt explains that part of his aim is to reduce the litigation culture, fear of litigation, and worry about damage to reputation or careers when something goes wrong. This is admirable, and much of our work with training Doctors focuses on the importance of learning from mistakes. Standardising the investigation of every still birth is very sensible, but what parents really want is the assurance that an open and honest investigation will be carried out swiftly.
We look forward to hearing the fine details of the Scheme. Ultimately, its success will depend on the panel of legal and medical experts who will decide whether compensation is warranted, and parents’ willingness to trust it with their child’s future.
If you have concerns that your child may have a birth injury please contact the Clinical Negligence team on 020 7814 1200.