2013 – A year of change
Happy New Year from all in the Medical Injury Team at Ashtons Legal. There is no doubt that 2013 will present enormous challenges as two major government policies are introduced. First, fundamental changes to the way clinical negligence cases are funded are planned for April. Legal Aid will be further severely restricted and only available for babies who are brain injured around birth or in their first weeks of life. Conditional Fee Agreements (‘no win, no fee’ agreements) are also being fundamentally changed so that claimants will now potentially have to part fund their cases with costs being deducted from their damages.
There is no doubt in my mind that this is much more than an attack on the cost of patients taking legal proceedings. Its true purpose is to prevent patients with legitimate claims seeking justice and obtaining redress when they have been injured by unacceptable medical treatment. We are determined that we will do all we can to ensure patients still have access to justice.
This radical attack on patients’ rights comes at a time when there is a further major social change with the introduction of the Health and Social Care Act, described as the most extensive reorganisation of the structure of the NHS to date, which proposes to abolish NHS Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities. Many health professionals fear that this will mean the NHS will be fragmented and increasingly run by private companies with little or no experience of healthcare and with the primary purpose of profit for their shareholders.
It is going to be a busy and very challenging year.
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