Westminster Health Forum

Clinical negligence in the NHS: patient safety, legal cost reform and next steps for policy

Morning, Thursday, 14th May 2020

Central London


This conference which will be a timely opportunity to discuss the key issues for clinical negligence in the NHS - looking at:

  • priorities for patient safety,
  • the potential for legal cost reform, and
  • next steps for policy.

It takes place with findings in NHS Resolution’s Annual Report and Accounts that the cost of claims is rising although the number of claims is remaining steady.

The agenda includes a keynote address from Helen Vernon, Chief Executive, NHS Resolution, Dr Jenny Vaughan, Law and Policy Lead, The Doctors Association and Consultant Neurologist, North-West London Hospitals NHS Trust, as well as a contribution from a speaker confirmed from the Medical Defence Union.

Areas for discussion at this conference include:

  • what more could be done to reduce avoidable harm, learn from harm when failures occur, and address the rising cost of clinical negligence in the NHS;
  • the role of investigations and whistleblowers in improving patient safety, changing organisational cultures and preventing future claims; and
  • the way forward for legal cost reform to tackle the rising cost of claims including the future for fixed recoverable costs, as well as approaches such as mediation.

The agenda

  • Assessing the rising cost of clinical negligence in the NHS and key issues for NHS Resolution;
  • Priorities for the Health Service Safety Investigations Body and the impact of investigations;
  • Improving patient safety in the NHS - tackling unwarranted variation, preventing safety failures and learning from harm;
  • Challenges and opportunities for keeping cases out of litigation - mediation, regulation and moving forward with legal cost reform; and
  • Next steps for policy.

Keynote Speaker

Helen Vernon

Chief Executive, NHS Resolution

Keynote Speaker

Helen Vernon

Chief Executive, NHS Resolution


Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames QC

Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson for Justice


Dr Matthew Lee

Director, Professional Services, Medical Defence Union

Peter Walsh

Chief Executive, Action against Medical Accidents

Dr Jenny Vaughan

Law and Policy Officer, The Doctors Association and Consultant Neurologist, London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust

John Machin

Specialist Registrar, Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and Clinical Lead, Litigation, Getting It Right First Time Programme