Expert outlines cure to problem of surging defence costs

Dr Christine Tomkins, chief executive at the Medical Defence Union (MDU), said the drivers of claims were far removed from the clinical coal face.

Dr Christine Tomkins

Two years ago, the union had 110 claims from consultant members who had never had a claim in 20 years of membership. Last year, the figure was 89 claims.

Appealing for a reform of the tort system, she criticised the Personal Injury Discount Rate (PIDR), used to work out compensation awards for future care and loss of earnings. 

Currently set at -0.25% since last August, this meant that a claim settled in 2014 for £4.82m for a negligent management of child with sepsis would now cost £8.04m. A tetraplegia case following spinal surgery, settled in 2012 for £9.2m, would now be £15.5m.