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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Law in Action asks: Legal aid changes: long overdue reform or denial of justice?

Radio 4's Law in Action asks: Legal aid changes: long overdue reform or denial of justice? I listened to this programme today. There isn't an iPlayer version available unfortunately, but the programme will be repeated on Thu 23 Feb at 20.00 on BBC Radio 4. ""The single biggest attack on access to justice since the legal aid system was introduced". That's the view of the Law Society on the government's controversial proposals to reform the civil justice system. But the government argue that the legal aid system has become unaffordable and along with no win no fee has helped create a litigious society. They say the current system is a boon for lawyers, while draining resources from organisations like the NHS and leaving many small businesses in fear of legal action." It is clear that the intended changes to the legal aid system will have a disproportionately harsh effect on medical negligence victims and their families, who are already abysmally and inhumanly treated by the NHS and their scandalously futile Complaints System. I constantly wonder why Kenneth Clarke (Justice Secretary) is so astonishingly hard on medical negligence victims. I remember he was of the same mind when he was Health Secretary over 20 years ago. His bluff, faux-reasonable style cuts no ice with me.

Why does it never occur to anyone in government that the best way - incomparably the best way - to reduce the costs of medical negligence, both the financial costs to the victims and their families and to taxpayer funds, and the terrible cost in pain and suffering to the damaged victims, is to reduce the ever-increasing incidence of clinical negligence? - And the best way - incomparably the best way - to accomplish that is make health professionals ACCOUNTABLE for their negligence.