This week Health Minister Ben Gummer MP dealt with ten written questions from MPs about clinical negligence. His answers reconfirm the Government’s intention to introduce fixed recoverable costs (FRC) from 1 October 2016 for these cases. Public consultation about options and models should therefore be expected fairly soon and certainly before Easter if the October implementation date is to be met.
We have previously reported on Lord Saatchi’s Medical Innovation Bill and here we cover the Access to Medical Treatments (Innovation) Bill, introduced by Chris Heaton-Harris MP as a Private Members’ Bill, in the Commons, in June 2015. It complements the Saatchi Bill in many respects. Both Bills seek to promote medical innovation and attempt to qualify the legal risks in such treatment. Following its Second Reading in October, the new Bill was considered at Committee Stage on 16 December. Amendments to the Bill were defeated, so it will go to its Report Stage on 29 January 2016 without further amendment.
Despite claims arising from clinical negligence and those for compensation for mesothelioma being very clearly within the definition of “claim for personal injuries” at CPR part 2.3(1), both types of claim are subject to certain special provisions because of their particular nature. Two further such exceptions have been just confirmed:
- a temporary relaxation of costs budgeting in clinical negligence claims, and
- a refinement of how the increases in court issue fees introduced earlier this year will apply to mesothelioma claims.
The latter is due to be clarified a Statutory Instrument.