Westminster Health Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

Clinical negligence in the NHS - patient safety, the impact of COVID-19, legal cost reform and next steps for policy

Morning, Thursday, 28th January 2021

Online Conference


***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will discuss the key issues for clinical negligence in the NHS, including:

  • the impact of COVID-19 on clinical negligence risk and increased clinical negligence claims
  • priorities for supporting the workforce through a period of unprecedented pressure, and developing a patient safety culture in the NHS following the NHS Patient Safety Strategy
  • the potential for legal cost reform to tackle the rising cost of claims

We are pleased to be able to include keynote contributions from: Helen Vernon, Chief Executive, NHS Resolution; Leslie Hamilton, Chair, Independent review of gross negligence manslaughter and culpable homicide; and Warren Seddon, Director of Strategy and Communications, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

Key areas for discussion:


  • The impact of the pandemic on the health workforce, patients and negligence claims, including:
    • ensuring the safety of telemedicine and remote healthcare, as information sharing and supporting patient understanding is more difficult
    • what needs to be done to support the workforce through the pandemic and into the future
    • whether measures introduced in the Coronavirus Act - such as cover for additional clinical negligence liabilities that may be specifically associated with COVID-19 when working in England and Wales - need to be extended or reviewed
    • the impact of emerging claims of patients affected by delayed operations, screenings, diagnosis and treatment on the rising cost of claims, which was already an issue in the NHS before the pandemic
    • the impact of the pandemic in processing claims, with the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman began accepting new health-related claims following a pause to enable the NHS to focus on its work during the pandemic

Improving support for BAME staff - following the GMC commissioned Fair to Refer? report, which found that a lack of employer support and isolation contributed to more referrals for BAME doctors

Patient safety and reducing avoidable harm

  • 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 - including:
  • Patient safety during COVID-19, including:
    • identification and management of at risk patients
    • continued care for patients that have received procedures such as a tracheostomy, as well as in maternity care
    • ways that patient safety learning adapted to new risks posed by the virus

Whistleblowers and investigations - their role in improving patient safety, changing organisational cultures, and avoiding future claims

Legal cost reform - the way forward for tackling the rising cost of claims, including the future for fixed recoverable costs, as well as approaches such as mediation

Developments that are relevant to the discussion:

It takes place with:

The agenda:

  • Assessing the rising costs of clinical negligence in the NHS, and priorities for NHS Resolution - with Helen Vernon, Chief Executive, NHS Resolution
  • The impact of investigations on improving patient safety - with Leslie Hamilton, Chair, Independent review of gross negligence manslaughter and culpable homicide
  • Key issues for patient complaints within the NHS, and the impact of COVID-19 - with Warren Seddon, Director of Strategy and Communications, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
  • Improving support for BAME staff - reducing bias in reporting, and tackling isolation and systemic issues
  • Next steps for patient safety in the NHS and supporting the NHS workforce through the pandemic and beyond: tackling unwarranted variation, preventing safety failures, and responding to new challenges posed by COVID-19
  • Challenges and opportunities for keeping cases out of litigation: mediation, regulation, next steps for legal cost reform and adapting practices during COVID-19
  • Next steps for policy

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

This conference is no different. Places have been reserved by officials from the DHSC; Government Legal Department; HM Treasury; Ministry of Justice and the National Audit Office.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speaker

Helen Vernon

Chief Executive, NHS Resolution

Keynote Speakers

Warren Seddon

Director of Strategy and Communications, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Helen Vernon

Chief Executive, NHS Resolution

Leslie Hamilton

Chair, Independent review of gross negligence manslaughter and culpable homicide

Charlie Massey

Chief Executive, General Medical Council


Professor Tim Draycott

Vice President, Clinical Quality, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Dr Jenny Vaughan

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

Dr Matthew Lee

Director, Professional Services, Medical Defence Union

Peter Walsh

Chief Executive, Action against Medical Accidents

Senior speaker confirmed from Getting It Right First Time Programme

Adrian Denson

Chief Legal Officer, Fletchers Solicitors

Sarah Barclay

Founder, Medical Mediation Foundation