Healthcare Brief market insights - July 2021
A summary of key developments including the Health and Care Bill, the Getting It Right First Time and NHS Resolution best practice guide to claims learning, a consultation on the appointment and operation of the Patient Safety Commissioner, the personal injury discount rate in Northern Ireland and statutory implementation of the Personal Injuries Guidelines 2021 in the Republic of Ireland.
Health and Care Bill introduced to the House of Commons
The Health and Care Bill was introduced to the House of Commons and given its First Reading on 6 July 2021. Following its Second Reading on 14 July, the date for the Committee Stage, where detailed examination of the Bill takes place is awaited.
The Bill is aimed at integrating health and social care through the use of statutory integrated care systems across the country. This follows the publication on 11 February 2021 of the Government’s White Paper 'Integration and Innovation: working together to improve health and social care for all'.
The Bill forms one part of the wider 'levelling up' agenda to improve health outcomes across the country with the intention of making NHS England, in combined form, accountable to Government and Parliament in its delivery.
We are pleased to note the continued intention to pursue reform of the Mental Health Act and the long-awaited statutory powers for the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch.
Contact: Camilla Long
GIRFT and NHS Resolution: new best practice guide for clinicians and managers
In May 2021, Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) and NHS Resolution published a best practice guide for clinicians and managers. The guide - ‘Learning from Litigation Claims’ (which can be found here) – provides “a recommended structure for learning from clinical negligence claims that should be led by trust legal departments, supported by clinicians and managers”.
Alongside this purpose, the guide also highlights that “claims learning should have the same parity as learning from clinical incidents”, with the guide providing “a rich resource to help improve patient safety in addition to learning from complaints, incidents and inquests.”
Contact: Ed Glasgow
Consultation on the appointment and operation of the Patient Safety Commissioner
On 10 June 2021, the Department of Health and Social Care opened a consultation seeking views on the “proposed legislative details on the appointment and operation” of the Patient Safety Commissioner.
The consultation is “not seeking to revisit policy decisions on the scope or the core duties of the Commissioner” which are established and set out in Part 1 of the Medicines and Medical Devices Act 2021. Instead, the purpose of the consultation is “to ensure that the appointment and operation of the Patient Safety Commissioner is as efficient and effective as possible”.
The proposals on the appointment and operation of the Patient Safety Commissioner cover a range of topics, including the terms of office for the role, remuneration and funding and the establishment of an advisory panel to support the Commissioner.
The consultation closes on 5 August 2021.
Contact: Christopher Malla
The British Psychological Society: ‘Guidance on the recordings of neuropsychological testing in medicolegal settings’
Since the decision in Mustard v Flower , there has been uncertainty in relation to the approach to the recording of neuropsychological assessments in the medicolegal context.
In Mustard the claimant had recorded several of the defendant’s medico legal examinations, including that of the neuropsychologist. Some recordings had been done openly with the knowledge of the medicolegal expert, others had been done covertly. Master Davison gave a lengthy Judgment on what is a very complicated issue.
Since that time, practitioners have been waiting for guidance to be issued by the British Psychological Society regarding the efficacy of the recording of neuropsychological assessments. In May of this year, The British Psychological Society published its ‘Guidance on the recordings of neuropsychological testing in medicolegal settings’.
Related item: Recording neuropsychological testing
Northern Ireland’s dramatically lowered discount rate
On 25 March 2021, the Department of Justice announced it will change the personal injury discount rate, on an interim basis, from +2.5% to –1.75%. The new rate came into effect on 31 May 2021.
With the current discount rate in England and Wales being -0.25% and Scotland’s rate being -0.75%, Northern Ireland’s new rate of -1.75% is the lowest in the UK. Insurers should ensure that currently litigated and non-litigated claim reserves are carefully reviewed as soon as possible, and consideration may be given to defence accountancy evidence in some cases.
- Imminent change to Northern Ireland discount rate announced
- Northern Ireland moving towards new framework for setting the personal injury discount rate
- Kennedys urges Northern Ireland Executive to change approach to personal injury discount rate
- Proposed changes to Northern Ireland discount rate expected
Statutory implementation of the Personal Injuries Guidelines 2021: Ireland
The publication, adoption and now statutory implementation of the Personal Injuries Guidelines is the culmination of long debated reform of personal injury claims in Ireland.
The Guidelines, which are similar to the Judicial College Guidelines in England and Wales, were implemented as part of the Family Leave and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2021, and come into effect on 24 April. The Minister of State with responsibility for insurance, Sean Fleming, described the Guidelines as “a key milestone in the insurance reform agenda”.
Contact: Joanne O’Sullivan
Related item: The Personal Injuries Guidelines 2021: Ireland