Bereavement Damages: a Dis-United Kingdom

This is the title of a report published yesterday by APIL which examines the different approaches to bereavement damages across the UK, an issue we had covered in detail last March in this post.

As is well-known, the use of statutory amounts of damages and closed classes of eligible claimants in England & Wales and in Northern Ireland contrasts with a broader, subjective approach in Scotland where higher awards are often made to members of a deceased’s extended family. It is no surprise that the report calls for some levelling up of the laws, but what is new is the level of public support it purports to show for change, with around 70% of some 2,000 respondents to YouGov surveys regarding the statutory levels as too low and supporting a more subjective approach.

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Data on ‘healthy life expectancy’ warrants a review of how we quantify high value injury claims

On 15 January 2021, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee published the outcome of its inquiry into the issue of healthy ageing. The inquiry was first commissioned following recognition that, whilst lifespans in the UK have increased in recent times, the period for which people remain healthy has not kept pace. The result is an increased duration of ill health in later life, which then places an increased burden on public health services, not to mention the effect on individuals’ wellbeing.

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Government backed indemnity schemes announced for ‘COVID-19’ positive care homes and Community Pharmacies administering vaccines

We have previously written about the UK government’s plan to set up designated settings for persons leaving hospital who require a care home but have a diagnosis of COVID-19.  This was originally outlined in the Adult Social Care Winter plan released in November, and each local authority was required to put in place plans to set up such facilities.  Part of the set up problems was the willingness of the insurance market to provide cover for these settings. 

In a written statement this week (18 January 2021), the Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi has confirmed provision of a temporary government backed indemnity to provide cover for clinical negligence, EL and PL cover in the circumstances where a care provider cannot secure sufficient cover, or cover at all via the commercial insurance market.  The scheme is intended to run only until the end of March 2021 and, as such, has the feeling of a ‘stop gap’ solution.

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