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News from Eastwoods

04 Jun 13

Eastwoods successfully defends hospital doctor at a FTPP of the MPTS

June 4, 2013

Eastwoods successfully defended a hospital doctor at a Fitness to Practise Panel of the MPTS, which concluded that the doctor’s deficient performance demonstrated during a performance assessment in 2011 had been remedied by the actions she had taken since then. Therefore, the Panel considered that her fitness to practise is not currently impaired by reason of deficient professional performance. In light of the Panel’s conclusion at the impairment stage the Panel did not consider that any useful purpose would be served by imposing a warning. Eastwoods, healthcare regulatory solicitors.

10 May 13

Eastwoods’ new website launched

May 10, 2013

Eastwoods’ new website is now “live”! Many thanks to all of those involved in its development. We hope that visitors find the new layout and information useful and we welcome any feedback via our contact page.

01 Apr 13

The Jackson Reforms

April 1, 2013

“In some areas of civil litigation costs are disproportionate and impede access to justice. I therefore propose a coherent package of interlocking reforms, designed to control costs and promote access to Justice.”
21 December 2009, Lord Justice Jackson

In December 2009 Lord Justice Jackson completed a review of civil litigation costs and produced his final report. He proposed a number of interlocking reforms that were aimed at reducing the costs of litigation, whilst maintaining access to the Courts to resolve disputes.

On 1 April 2013 the most substantial reform to the civil justice system since April 1999 took place when those reforms were implemented.

In respect of professional negligence cases the main changes are:

  • Greater involvement of the judiciary in case management
  • Costs budgeting, changing the emphasis from a detailed assessment of costs at the conclusion of a case to prospective costs budgeting at an early stage of the Court’s involvement, such budgets requiring Court approval
  • A claimant in a personal injury action who funds their case by way of a conditional fee agreement (colloquially known as a no win no fee agreement) will no longer be able to recover their success fee and insurance premium (purchased to protect the Claimant against a costs order made against them) from the Defendant
  • In return for the above, a successful Defendant in a personal injury action will only be able to recover costs from a Claimant in limited circumstances
  • Parties to litigation are incentivised to make earlier settlement offers by a system of enhancements which apply if their opponent fails to achieve a better outcome than the settlement offer put forward.

The reforms will principally apply to cases where Court proceedings are issued after 1 April 2013 and so there are a number of transitional provisions to accommodate litigation that is already underway, which provide guidance as to whether or not the new rules apply.

31 Mar 13

PCTs Out, CCGs In

March 31, 2013

Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) were abolished on 31 March 2013 as part of the implementation of the Health & Social Care Act 2012. PCTs have now been superseded by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). These CCGs will be run by healthcare professionals and will have greater power and independence to do what is necessary to improve standards in the primary care setting. The Regulations under which the CCGs will operate is the National Health Service Commissioning Board & Clinical Commissioning Groups (Responsibilities and Standing Rules) Regulations 2012. A copy of these Regulations can be found at the following link:- http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2012/2996/contents/made

29 Mar 13

Sport – British Equestrian Federation (BEF) – Equine-Doping Appeal

March 29, 2013

Eastwoods advised on the merits of appealing a decision by the BEF to suspend a rider who was held to be the Person Responsible for her horse violating the BEF Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations (BEFAR).

25 Mar 13

GMC Publishes Updated Good Medical Practice

March 25, 2013

On 25 March 2013 the GMC issued a Press Release announcing the publication of updated core guidance for all doctors in the UK. The new edition of “Good Medical Practice” is available on the GMC’s website and comes into effect on 22 April 2013.

The GMC has also published updated “explanatory guidance” which now includes a new document regarding doctors’ use of social media. Although not yet in effect, these documents have been published to allow doctors an opportunity to become familiar with the guidance.

The new edition of GMP and supporting guidance can be found at the following link – http://www.gmc-uk.org/guidance/good_medical_practice.asp

15 Mar 13

Eastwoods Comic Relief Bake Sale

March 15, 2013

Thanks to the delicious efforts of the staff at Eastwoods, the firm raised over £200 for Comic Relief following a bake sale on 15 March. Special thanks to Eastwoods’ own Mary Berry (aka Emma Burnett) for organising this and making some spectacular cakes!

06 Feb 13

Publication of the “Francis Report”

February 6, 2013

It will probably have escaped few people’s attention that, on 6 February 2013, Robert Francis QC published his final report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust public inquiry. A link to the report can be found here:- www.midstaffspublicinquiry.com/report.

The report itself is comprehensive to say the least, containing 290 separate recommendations. It seeks to bring about a sea change in the ethos and culture of the NHS and has already spawned numerous documentaries, television and newspaper reports and calls for changes to attitudes within the NHS.

The Department of Health has published an initial response to the “Francis report” a link to which can be found here:- www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-initial-response-to-the-mid-staffs-report

07 Mar 12

High Court Quashes Walker-Smith GMC Erasure

March 7, 2012

On 7 March 2012 Mr Justice Mitting handed down his judgment in the High Court appeal case of Professor Walker-Smith. Professor Walker-Smith appealed the GMC’s decision to erase his name from the medical register following the longest GMC hearing in history (217 days). The case concerned Professor Walker-Smith’s involvement in the care of and research into 12 children with a combination of bowel disease and autism following the MMR vaccine.

After a 7 day appeal Mr Justice Mitting quashed the GMC’s finding of serious professional misconduct on the grounds that it was wrong and based upon superficial reasoning. Professor Walker-Smith’s name was restored to the medical register.

Eastwoods represented Professor Walker-Smith throughout the lengthy GMC proceedings and his successful appeal to the High Court. The full judgement is attached here.

02 Mar 12

High Court Quashes Lawrence GMC Erasure

March 2, 2012

On 2 March 2012 Mr Justice Standlen handed down his judgment in a High Court appeal, quashing the decision of a GMC Fitness to Practise Panel to erase Dr Lawrence from the medical register.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Standlen held (amongst other things) that the panel had incorrectly considered that they had expertise which they did not have and that the rules of natural justice precluded members of specialist tribunals, including experts, from giving evidence to themselves which the parties had no opportunity to challenge. Where a specialist tribunal, drawing on its own knowledge and experience, independently identifies an important fact or matter which may influence its decision, but which has not been the subject of evidence adduced by or submissions advanced by the parties, it should state this openly and give the parties an opportunity to seek to adduce evidence and/or make submissions on it. The Panel had erred in failing to do so and accordingly the finding of misconduct was quashed.

Eastwoods represented Dr Lawrence at both his 15 day GMC hearing in September 2010 and his High Court appeal. The full judgement is attached here.