We have become more litigious. In the past four years the amount of money paid out by the NHS for medical negligence claims has doubled, reaching £1.2 billion in the last financial year.
And by the NHS’ own calculation on cases stacked against it pending court decisions, the NHS faces a bill of £24b – these are cases the NHS thinks it will lose in the coming years.
In these circumstances, doctors and hospital managers are less likely to step outside the standard procedures and try to find better ways to treat patients. The law doesn’t protect them.
This builds a deep culture of defensive medicine, such that innovation is not even considered as an option in many cases. Doctors become so used to standard procedures, they may not even think to push beyond failed standard procedures.
Of course, innovation happens. But the culture of innovation is dying. This law will encourage it and protect those who innovate sensibly.