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Birth injury public consultation

The Department of Health has just launched a 12 week public consultation entitled "A Rapid Resolution and Redress Scheme for Severe Avoidable Birth Injury", targeted at Trusts, patients and the legal profession and defence organisations.

What does the consultation cover?

The Rapid Resolution and Redress Scheme (RRR) aims to introduce a voluntary administrative compensation scheme for families affected by severe avoidable birth injury, by implementing a system of independent investigations for all instances of possible severe avoidable birth injury, along with access to ongoing support and compensation for eligible babies through an administrative scheme.

The main aims are:

  • to reduce the number of severe avoidable birth injuries by encouraging a learning culture;
  • improving the experience of families and clinicians when harm has occurred; and
  • making more effective use of NHS resources.

This consultation seeks views about the proposed scheme, including:

  • how the scheme would be administered;
  • the eligibility threshold for compensation; and
  • how learning would best be shared and acted on to reduce future harm.

In short, the paper looks at ways to improve the experience for families by avoiding adversarial and lengthy litigation, but also to reducing such incidents in future, by gathering evidence and providing clinicians with additional support for learning, so that individual tragedies become lessons.

The scheme would give families the option to join an alternative system of compensation that offers support and regular payments, without the need to bring a claim through the courts. This would be a voluntary scheme which would not affect an individual’s right to litigate. The scheme would apply to harm associated with treatment under NHS maternity services in England only.

How can we respond to the consultation?

Comments on the proposal can be submitted:

  • online via Citizen Space (preferred);
  • by post to RRR Policy Team, Acute Care & Quality Directorate; Department of Health; Room 239, Richmond House, 79 Whitehall, SW1A 2NS;
  • by email to

The consultation will close on Friday 26th May 2017.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

This page may contain links that direct you to third party websites. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.

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