26 July 2011
Paul Sankey questions legal aid cuts: calculations on the back of an envelope?
I commented recently on the fact that even NHS lawyers oppose the government’s plans to axe legal aid for victims of medical accidents. They are concerned that this will actually increase the cost of claims against the NHS.
AvMA (Action Against Medical Accidents) recently made a Freedom of Information Request to the Department of Health. It asked for copies of estimates or assessments of the cost of the NHS of the proposed legal aid reforms.
Where has the research been done to find out what these changes will actually cost? The staggering response is that there are no documents. No research has been done. So this is back-of-an-envelope planning.
Quite astonishingly the government proposes to cut access to justice in order to save money without actually working out whether it will save money.
So here are some good reasons why the current proposals are wrong:
- They will deprive vulnerable accident victims of justice;
- They will costs more money than they save;
- There is a massive conflict of interest.
The cuts are for its own benefit when the NHS is accused of negligence.
No one it seems supports these changes. It is time to scrap them.
Paul Sankey is a solicitor specialising in clinical negligence.
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