The government intends to introduce fixed fees for clinical negligence cases by 1 October – despite not yet releasing a promised consultation on the issue.
Responding to a written parliamentary question, health minister Ben Gummer confirmed the intended start date for fixed recoverable costs for claims, following the outcome of the public consultation.
The consultation will include consideration on the maximum value of claims that would be covered by the new regime and whether there should be any exemptions.
With the consultation likely to last at least six weeks, the starting date leaves ministers with a tight schedule to make changes.
In response to a separate question, Gummer said respondents to a pre-consultation exercise in August 2015 confirmed ‘no exact correlation’ between the value and complexity of clinical negligence claims.
The consultation, he said, will look at how behaviours can change to streamline and speed up the way in which clinical negligence claims can be processed. Gummer insisted the new regime will focus on the conduct of both claimants and defendants for a process that is ‘more resource-efficient and that incentivises the right behaviours by all parties’.