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Posted on 9th June 2017

What is NHS Resolution

The NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) is now called NHS Resolution and it manages all negligence claims against the NHS in England.

It is a part of the NHS, but doesn’t manage any services or provide any medical care – its primary purpose is to deal with negligence claims.

It also shares any learnings from negligence claims that could help the NHS deal with risks and improve patient and staff safety in the future.

NHS Resolution takes full responsibility for handling claims against the NHS and covers all costs

It is the organisation that Letters of Claim are sent to and it is the organisation that will take part in Alternative Dispute Resolution.

When claims are settled, payments come out of the NHS Resolution’s budget. This budget is set aside from the start when costing is done, any claims made do not effect other parts of the NHS, or take any part of their budget.

It runs three schemes related to clinical negligence to protect its members – though most members are protected under the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts (CNST), since all trusts in England are now members of this scheme.

Does this mean, if I make a claim, it won’t be against an individual doctor?

In most situations, yes. You won’t be suing a specific doctor, surgeon or midwife, for example.

Instead you will be suing the trust or hospital they were working for (the trust becomes the defendant in the case) and NHS Resolution will act on the trust’s behalf. This occurs because the trust or hospital will be enrolled in the CNST scheme run by the NHS Resolution.

Some medical practitioners are not covered by CNST (but they are still legally required to have indemnity from somewhere)

CNST does not apply to:

  • Family health service practitioners working under contracts for services
  • General dental practitioners and family dentist
  • Pharmacists
  • Optometrists
  • Self-employed health care professionals
  • Locum doctors
  • Private doctors

If you experience negligent care by a dentist then they may not get assistance from the NHS Resolution during the claim. However, every doctor is required to have some kind of personal indemnity to practice medicine in the UK. So they will have indemnity from one of the three Medical Defence Organisations. These organisations provide medical and dental legal assistance and professional indemnity to healthcare professionals.  

In these cases, the defendant will be the individual medical practitioner.

What if NHS Resolution get it wrong?

If NHS Resolution doesn’t admit liability, your solicitor will fight your corner.

It is these cases that go to court. Once in court NHS Resolution will be treated just like any other party or defendant in a court room. The judge will assess the case based on its legal merits. It is illegal for the judge to favour either you or NHS Resolution because they have to be impartial, so the court and law is always your ultimate protection.

How much money does the NHS Resolution have available to pay for negligence claims?

 In 2015/16 the total expenditure for the NHSLA will be £1,676 million. Around £1,560 million of this is for clinical negligence claims.

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