Press Release-We Need Mediation not Litigation in the Health Service

From: The New Party
Published: Wed Apr 20 2005

The New Party is calling for compulsory mediation to settle the thousands of outstanding claims against the National Health Service. Professional mediation would allow people to get the compensation they deserve within a reasonable timescale and minimise the crippling cost of protracted litigation. The New Party has also today (Wednesday) submitted a petition to this effect to the Scottish Parliament.

Party spokesman Dr Nigel Knight comments:
"It is quite plainly ridiculous that in all too many cases the only people to benefit from medical negligence payouts are the legal profession. It is not unusual for the legal fees to exceed the compensation payout and almost all cases drag on for years on end. In addition to the distress caused to former patients and next of kin, huge amounts of cash are being taken out of the NHS at a time when patient healthcare is under enormous pressure."

One of the most concerning aspects of medical negligence claims is the North/South divide. The NHS compensation bill for England in 2003 was £446m, in Wales it was £43m whereas in Scotland it was only £9.4m. The reason for this situation is the extreme difficulty the Scots have in obtaining legal aid and the fact that there are only four firms recommended by the Law Society of Scotland to take on medical negligence claims.

"We believe that litigation should be avoided unless absolutely necessary, and all those involved in medical negligence cases should work to reduce the number of cases that follow this route." The Royal Society of Edinburgh, 2002.

The rapidly rising number of claims against the NHS is also responsible for the vast increase in bureaucracy within the service as desperate managers try to plug their defences by doubling up on paper based systems. This is often self defeating as it distracts front line clinical staff from the work in hand and can also lead to what is termed ‘defensive medicine’.


The New Party
Grown up Politics for Grown up People

Notes for editors:
1. In the majority of claims under £45,000 administrative costs exceed the compensation paid to the victim.
2. The petition to the Scottish Parliament will be handed over on Wednesday 20th at 1pm in the Scottish Parliament's Lawn Gallery by New Party Scottish spokesman David McFarlane. Press packs will be available and there will be an opportunity for photographs / interviews.
3. The Royal Society of Edinburgh report, ‘Encouraging Resolution: Mediating patient/health services disputes in Scotland’, is available online at:
4. Additional information on the petition is available at:
5. The New Party has been formed to give the people of the UK a progressive alternative to the existing parties
6. The Labour & Conservative parties have now held exclusive power for over 80 years
7. The New Party is using the 2005 General Election process as a platform to present its policies and will announce three major policies each week over the election period
8. The New Party has the endorsement of Sir John Harvey-Jones (see
9. You can sign up to receive New Party *Email Alerts*

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Company: The New Party
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