Monday, 19 June 2006
SNP Deputy Leader Nicola Sturgeon MSP and Shadow Health Minister Shona Robison MSP today (Monday) launched a consultation paper on replacing the current clinical negligence scheme in Scotland's NHS with a no fault system of compensation.
The consultation paper argues that the current system is highly complex; excludes the majority of potential claimants because it is so expensive; involves long delays; is inefficient and wasteful with 25 per cent of expenditure going solely on legal costs; is adversarial in nature; and discourages medical staff from reporting errors.
It also outlines the benefits of a no fault system drawing from the experiences in Scandinavia and New Zealand. No fault systems are fairer, more efficient and cases are settled far more quickly. No fault systems also help encourage a more open and trusting relationship between patients and medical staff.
Speaking from the Southern and General Hospital in Glasgow this morning where she launched the consultation, Ms Sturgeon said:
"The overwhelming majority of patients get a first class service from the NHS and we should pay tribute to staff for that.
"However, a minority of patients experience problems and the current system of redress is in major need of reform. It is unfair and inefficient, and expensive that most patients. These failings have been apparent for some time and the BMA, amongst others, have been advocates of reform and the introduction of a no fault system.
"In England, the Westminster Government has recognised the severe problems with the clinical negligence scheme and is introducing an NHS Redress Bill in the current parliamentary session. Unfortunately the Lib-Lab Executive have ignored the failings of the system and as usual are doing nothing.
"As part of our commitment to patients rights, the SNP believes it is important to establish a compensation scheme which is fair to both patients and medical staff.
"We believe that a no fault system will be fairer, quicker and make better use of tax payers money."
SNP Shadow Health Minister Shona Robison MSP said:
"By reforming the current system and introducing no fault compensation we can create a NHS which is more responsive for both patients and medical staff.
"The clinical negligence scheme works against the interests of both patients and medical staff. By removing the blame culture we can take away unnecessary pressure on doctors and nurses and make the compensation process less fraught.
"This will help medical staff feel less defensive, increasing their willingness to learn from mistakes when they occur.
"A no fault scheme is not just about compensation, its about learning from errors so we can build a stronger NHS which provides a better deal for patients and medical staff."
The No Fault Compensation consultation paper is available here.