Healthcare Brief July 2016: market insights

Date published





A summary of key developments including the use of artificial intelligence to analyse eye scans, data security, public sector exit payments, fixed costs for clinical negligence claims, end of life care, holiday pay and the post-implementation review of LASPO.

Artificial intelligence and eye scans

Moorfields Eye Hospital has entered into a medical research partnership with the artificial intelligence research arm of Google, DeepMind to investigate how technology could help to analyse eye scans. Moorfields will share a set of one million anonymised eye scans with DeepMind and related anonymous information about eye condition and disease management. DeepMind will use this information to train an algorithm to assess the scans and detect early signs of eye conditions.

Contact: Ed Glasgow

Data security

On 6 July 2016, the Department of Health (DoH) published two independent reviews about data security and sharing:

  • The Care Quality Commission has reviewed data security in the NHS and has made six recommendations.
  • The National Data Guardian (NDG), Dame Fiona Caldicott, has reviewed data security, consent and opt-outs. The NDG has proposed 10 security standards to be applied in every health and care organisation that handles personal confidential information. A new consent/opt-out model has also been proposed.

The DoH has published a consultation document seeking views on the recommendations of the NDG. In light of the recommendations, the DoH has decided not to proceed with the programme.

Contact: Rob Tobin

Exit payments cap

Having been announced with much fanfare, the regulations implementing a cap on public sector exit payments are not expected to come into force before 1 October 2016. The draft Public Sector Exit Payment Regulations, published in November 2015, impose a cap of £95,000 on the total aggregate value of exit payments made to most public sector workers, including those in the NHS. A response to the consultation on further reforms to public sector exit payments is still awaited, as is a commencement date for separate draft regulations requiring public sector employees to repay any exit payment received in respect of roles earning over £80,000 a year if they are re-employed in the public sector within 12 months.

Contact: Fiona Morgan

Fixed costs for clinical negligence claims

The DoH has confirmed that fixed recoverable costs for clinical negligence claims will not be implemented on 1 October 2016, as previously planned. In a letter to the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, health minister, Ben Gummer indicated that a delay in publication of the DoH consultation meant that this timetable could not be met. The consultation was originally announced in October 2015. As part of the pre-consultation phase, focus groups (including those attended by Kennedys) met to consider the principles and detail of what fixed recoverable costs might look like.

Contact: Christopher Malla

Government commits to high quality end of life care

Health Minister, Ben Gummer has announced plans to ensure high quality, compassionate care for everyone at the end of life. These plans are in response to an independent review of end of life care carried out by the Choice in End of Life Care Programme Board. Government commitments include honest discussions between care professionals and dying people and personalised care plans for all. The government intends to develop a set of metrics to track progress, which will be made publicly available in a year’s time.

Contact: Amanda Mead

Holiday pay

The Court of Appeal was due to hear the appeal in Lock v British Gas Trading Ltd in mid-July 2016. In Lock, the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal both held that the Working Time Regulations 1998 should be interpreted to conform with the requirements of European Union law to include results-based commission in statutory holiday pay. The appeal against this decision by British Gas will have a direct bearing on how employers, including NHS trusts and other healthcare providers, must calculate holiday pay for their staff.

Contact: Fiona Morgan

New working party to review civil litigation

A Civil Litigation Review Working Group has been set up to consider and review a series of discrete topics relating to civil litigation. The initial focus will be on:

  • Hot-tubbing of experts.
  • The role that before the event insurance might play in improving access to justice.
  • Qualified one-way costs shifting and private nuisance claims.

The group will report on each topic as work concludes over the next 18 months to assist the MoJ in its review of LASPO, which is due in early 2018.

Contact: Janet Sayers

Read other items in the Healthcare Brief - July 2016