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Olympic athlete fights Legal Aid bill

Recently, a highly controversial Legal Aid Bill was defeated on three occasions in the House of Lords and has given inspiration to people who continue to campaign for the bill to be revised. One challenge against legal aid proposals, which would deny financial support to those seeking compensation for medical negligence, is being led by Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson.

The former Paralympics champion is campaigning for the rights of people to free legal support for medical negligence. This is despite the government making a concession, that cases of medical negligence involving babies, who are brain damaged, would still have access to legal aid, during the first eight weeks of their lives.

It is reported that according to Baroness Thompson, this imposed restriction is of a discriminatory nature and could lead to millions of people being denied access to the legal system. In a newspaper correspondent’s interview with the Baroness, she said in affect, that it was unfair to distinguish between children injured as a result of injury at their birth and other children who have suffered severe injuries as a result of clinical negligence. The report further indicated that this also applied to adults whose lives have been ruined by such negligence.

It is commonly known that staff in hospitals work hours beyond their recognised full capacities, with doctors and nurses continuing dedicating long hours to their vocations. Unfortunate mistakes can occur, with serious consequences for the patient. Claims for compensation when related to medical negligence, are able to be made against a variety of healthcare providers, including NHS hospitals, General Practitioners, Private hospitals, cosmetic surgeons and dentists.

Judicial Studies Board Guidelines are provided by the Ministry of Justice and set out a broad range of medical compensation levels for various types of injuries. These are used, in conjunction with previously determined court cases, to decide an appropriate settlement sum. As every case is different, a settlement would be negotiated, reflecting on particular circumstances and the injuries sustained.