NHSLA tests in-house working to cut defence costs
7th Sep 2016
The NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) is testing handling cases in-house in its attempts to make further savings in its budget.
The NHSLA spent £120.1m on external legal costs in 2015/16, and it is understood that the organisation is keen to reduce that figure.
A spokesman for the NHSLA said that “The litigation team has been established to enable some of the NHS Litigation Authority’s legally qualified staff to act in cases where court proceedings are served. Currently, these cases need to be outsourced to our legal panel.”
It is understood that there are no immediate plans to reduce the 11-strong panel of law firms that are contracted to work on behalf of the NHSLA.
Defence costs were just 8% of the total NHSLA claims outlay in 2015/16; however, these have increased by 17% compared with the previous year, when they were £103.2m.
Attempts to reduce defence costs come at a time when claimants wait to see what the government plans to do about fixed recoverable fees, with a consultation expected later this year.
Defendant firms are believed to have reduced their costs significantly in recent years and already work to fixed costs. However, the NHSLA reported earlier this year that clinical negligence claims had fallen by almost 5% in a year, with the authority recieving 10,965 new clinical negligence claims last year, compared with 11,497 in 2014/15.
These figures have led some within the organisation to ask whether work can be done more cost-effectively in-house.