Reducing Harm to Patients in the National Health Service. Will the Government's Compensation Proposals Help?
Alastair Gray (),
N. Rickman and
Briefings from Office of Health Economics
The UK government hopes that the proposals in the report of the Department of Health's Chief Medical Officer 'Making Amends' (CMO, 2003) will make its NHS safer whilst ensuring that patients who are harmed get compensation more quickly and more efficiently than at present. The Making Amends proposals seek to achieve this by setting up administrative mechanisms for compensating patients. These will provide an alternative to the existing court based 'tort' system, whereby patients sue doctors and hospitals for negligence in order to get compensation. These changes should be helpful. They will reduce administrative costs and lead to more patients injured by adverse events getting compensated. However, the changes will only contribute to the overriding objective of reducing the number of NHS patients harmed in the future if the administrative mechanisms for compensating patients who are harmed are linked to those aimed at improving patient safety. It is not clear that the government's proposals will achieve this. Yet the link is essential for two reasons - so that information from patient compensation claims can be used to improve patient safety; and so that a hospital's record in harming patients costs it money, giving it a strong financial incentive to invest in preventing errors. This paper sets out the context of the extent of medical error in the NHS and the current tort system for negligence, discusses the issues the government's proposals raise, and sets out how these proposals can be made more effective by ensuring a link between safety systems and compensation mechanisms.
Keywords: Economics; of; Health; Care; Systems (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
https://www.ohe.org/system/files/private/publicati ... ucing_Harm_Towse.pdf (application/pdf)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ohe:briefg:000484
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in Briefings from Office of Health Economics Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Publications Manager ().