FOCIS response to the further technical consultation from the Welsh Assembly

Dear Ms Carpanini-Lock

We write to make further submissions on behalf of FOCIS in response to the shorter technical consultation issued on 15th September.

FOCIS does not propose to comment in relation to the cross border application issue.

FOCIS repeats its concerns in relation to the level of compensation to which the redress scheme is aimed. We repeat the observations contained in our response to the original consultation. We consider the impact assessment upon which the original £20,000 pain, suffering and loss of amenity limit was based, was flawed. We now repeat the same objection in relation to the proposed £40,000 limit. We are concerned that the limit of £40,000 has been set in an arbitrary fashion. Whilst it is noted that the Assembly consider that £40,000 represents the vast majority of lower value claims, it will still encompass complex low value and/or fatal accident claims or important cases which are not appropriately incorporated into a simple template scheme.

The scheme should not apply to:

1. Fatal cases

2. Cases where the injury is ongoing

3. Cases involving children where the likely value is over £10,000

4. Cases which cannot reliably be certified as being valued at < £40,000 at the outset. We would suggest that this should exclude all cases where injury continues for over 12 months.

5. Cases which involve complex medical issues of fact of disability.

FOCIS is equally concerned by whom, how and when such evaluations should be made.

FOCIS is concerned that there is no requirement on an individual to obtain independent legal advice when waiving their rights in respect of tortuous civil liability in settling claims with the NHS under the scheme. We submit that it would be extremely important for the credibility of the system that any settlement under the terms of the NHS redress scheme must involve the obtaining of independent legal advice in respect of the waiving of that individual's civil rights.

FOCIS further believes that the success of the scheme should be monitored and reviewed over the set time period - say initially 24 months. It would be premature to make decisions in relation to its success or otherwise until the scheme has been bedded in for a considerable period of time especially taking into account that within the timeframes envisaged, the time from a concern being notified to consideration as to whether an acceptable offer of redress has been made may be as long as 21 months.

FOCIS 29th September 2010

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