Calls for legal reforms to halt growth in clinical negligence claims

clinical negligenceThe Government has been told to implement legal reforms that will help tackle the rising costs of clinical negligence.

Dental Protection says a dentist in the UK is twice as likely to receive a claim for clinical negligence compared to ten years ago, with full-time dentists receiving two claims on average during their career.

Dental Protection’s legal reforms include:

  • A fixed recoverable cost up to the value of £250,000 – to stop lawyers charging disproportionate legal fees
  • An increase in the small claims track for clinical negligence claims up to £5,000 – so more low level claims can be routinely managed in the small claims track reducing the cost of these
  • A minimum threshold for cash compensation relating to claims for minor injuries – to reduce the cumulative cost where minor injuries are sustained.

‘Urgent action’

‘It is important that there is reasonable compensation for patients harmed following clinical negligence, but a balance must be struck,’ Raj Rattan, dental director at Dental Protection, said.

‘The rising cost of clinical negligence is impacting on dentists – when the cost of clinical negligence increases, the cost of professional protection must also increase to reflect this – and we recognise the pressure this places on our members.

‘Dental Protection believes that a package of legal reforms to help tackle the rising cost of clinical negligence, and the challenging claims environment for dentists, is long overdue.

‘We are calling on the Government to take urgent action.’

Clinical negligence claims

In a recent survey, 94% of dentists believe it is now easier to bring a clinical negligence claim against them.

Also, 90% say they’re increasingly worried over being sued and 86% said they would support changes in the legal system to combat the rising cost of clinical negligence.

‘We know that working in an increasingly litigious environment day in and day out is also challenging, and is taking its toll on dentists when they are striving to provide the best possible service and care to their patients,’ Raj concluded.

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