Helen Jones – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Helen Jones on 2016-05-04.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) hospitals and (b) GPs release medical records required in clinical negligence cases within appropriate time limits.

Ben Gummer

The timetable for the release of medical records in clinical negligence cases is determined by the Pre Action Protocol for clinical negligence claims. This prescribes 40 days for the release of the records, or the ability to request an extension to that time.

The NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) works with National Health Service trusts to ensure prompt release of medical records and other information which will inform the outcome of a claim for compensation. Often expert evidence will be required to give conclusive evidence as to whether there was negligence and if so, whether that caused injury to the claimant. As claims are often resolved in-house by the NHSLA, any costs which arise as a result of delays in receiving medical records are not recorded separately as they will fall within overall administration costs.

46% of claims were resolved without payment of damages in 2014/15; however, as above, it is often necessary to obtain expert medical advice to determine whether compensation is due.