Law firms to be banned from touting for business in hospitals

Nicola Harley
Personal injury lawyers will be banned from health service premises from 2017/18 following changes to the NHS Standard Contract. - PA

Law firms will no longer be able to tout for business inside hospitals under plans unveiled by the NHS.

Personal injury lawyers will be banned from health service premises from 2017/18 following changes to the NHS Standard Contract.

Firms will be stopped from "operating from or touting for business", according to the Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: "We want lawyers out of hospital and doctors out of court.

"That's why personal injury lawyers are going to be banned from NHS premises following consultation on changes to the NHS Standard Contract."

Personal injury lawyers will be banned from health service premises from 2017/18 following changes to the NHS Standard Contract. Credit: PA

Dr Pallavi Bradshaw, senior medicolegal adviser at the Medical Protection Society, said: "This is a positive step - the NHS paid out £1.5 billion in clinical negligence costs in 2015/16, with legal costs accounting for 34 per cent of that bill. In lower value claims it is not unusual to see lawyers' costs exceed the compensation awarded to claimants.

"It is right that steps are taken to control these costs, and a recent MPS survey showed the public agrees, with 70 per cent saying it is inappropriate for law firms to advertise for clinical negligence cases in health care settings."

She added: "We look forward to seeing further commitment to stemming legal costs in the coming months as Government decides on the threshold for its fixed recoverable costs scheme, aimed at stopping lawyers charging excessive legal fees."

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, is banning lawyers from touting for business in hospitals. Credit: PA

There will also be an early notification model for cases of severe brain damage at birth from next month under the new strategy.

The plans state that NHS Resolution will try to "reduce costs by identifying and investigating these incidents earlier, providing the opportunity to resolve disputes in a less adversarial way, possibly through deploying alternative models for dispute resolution".

"The approach will also support learning with the aim of reducing the actual incidence of harm and its associated costs to the system."

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