§ Mr. Peter Atkinson
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proposals he has to mitigate the impact of large awards of damages on the budgets of NHS trusts and health authorities; and if he will make a statement. 680W
§ Mr. Milburn
On 29 April 1998 my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State wrote to a number of organisations representing professional, legal, National Health Service and patient interests seeking their views on what can be done to reduce the number of incidents which give rise to claims against NHS trusts and health authorities, how to manage patient expectation and how to improve the handling of claims which do arise. Officials are in the process of studying replies in order to identify suggestions which might be taken forward in the future.