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.
On 18 December 2020, the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee published its stage 1 report on the Liability for NHS Charges (Treatment of Industrial Disease) (Scotland) Bill. If enacted, this member’s bill would allow recovery by the state of charges incurred by the health service in the provision of treatment to pursuers with industrial disease but only where the cause of action arises after commencement of the new law. A link to the committee’s report is here. A link to the bill as introduced is here. The next stage for this bill is for the Scottish Parliament to debate and vote on the general principles of it before 15 January 2021. If the bill passes that vote it will move to stage 2 of the 3 stage legislative process. Amendment is possible at both stages 2 and 3. This legislation will have to pass all three stages before dissolution of the current session of the Scottish Parliament ahead of a 6 May 2021 election or it will fall.
In this blog we summarise the main points of the committee’s stage 1 report:
Secondary victim claims for psychiatric injury present claimants with a particular set of difficulties, namely the control mechanisms laid out in the case of Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police (which followed the Hillsborough stadium disaster). In order to succeed, a secondary victim must prove that he or she: (1) witnessed a shocking or horrifying event (or its immediate aftermath), (2) suffered a recognised psychiatric injury, (3) had a close tie of love and affection with the primary victim of the event, (4) witnessed the event directly and (5) was sufficiently “proximate” to the event in both time and space.