A not-for-profit organisation
committed to injured people
A not-for-profit organisation
committed to injured people

Access to justice at risk for victims of Welsh NHS failures

31 May 2024
APIL news

Victims of clinical negligence could face access to justice issues if changes to the NHS Putting Things Right (PTR) redress scheme in Wales go ahead, a campaign group has warned.


The Welsh Government plans to double the value of claims that can be dealt with through the PTR scheme from £25,000 to £50,000. The scheme is how patients and their families can raise concerns and make complaints about NHS services, including hospitals, dentists, GPs, and opticians. Compensation can be paid under the scheme, which helps injured patients to get their lives back on track.


Not-for-profit campaign group APIL (the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) says increasing the value of claims in the scheme would mean complex and sensitive cases, such as delays to surgery or maternity cases, being processed through PTR, which would be wrong.


“Cases in which injured patients’ compensation needs are valued at up to £50,000 are usually more complex and time consuming to resolve than those which currently fall under the PTR scheme,” said APIL’s Welsh representative and Cardiff-based legal executive Pauline Roberts.


“Such complex cases generally require a great deal of work and detailed consideration to make sure victims receive the right amount of compensation to help them recover,” she explained.


“In a case involving an avoidable delay to a patient’s surgery or a misdiagnosis, for example, which has caused significant harm, additional, detailed evidence is gathered and applied by the victim’s lawyer. Rehabilitation needs, provision for future therapies, and the impact of lost earnings needs to be accounted for. Patients will need independent and specialist legal representation throughout the process,” she went on.


“But the extra time and resources needed to take on more complicated cases must be funded somehow, and the Welsh Government’s proposed legal fees increases will not cover the costs of the extra work required in complex cases.


“Victims of NHS negligence in Wales face not having access to justice if lawyers are unable to afford to take on cases due to the cost implications,” she said.


“Not setting the fees at an appropriate level to remunerate for the work required in higher claims means there is a real risk the independent legal help will be scarce or insufficient in such a specialist field,” said Pauline.


In its response to a consultation by the Welsh Government on the potential changes to PTR, APIL also said it supports proposals for mandatory ‘listening meetings’ which would allow patients to air their complaints or concerns with officials.


“Such meetings will help foster a culture of transparency and accountability when things go wrong in the NHS. This way lessons can be learned and patient safety can improve, and hopefully some claims will be eradicated at the source – the negligence,” said Pauline.




Notes to editors:

  • Link to APIL’s response to the Welsh Government Consultation on proposed changes to the Putting Things Right process: https://www.apil.org.uk/files/pdf/ConsultationDocuments/4224.pdf
  • The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers is a not-for-profit organisation, formed by claimant lawyers, which has campaigned for the rights of victims of negligence for more than 30 years. APIL’s vision is of a society without needless injury but, when people are injured, a society which offers the justice they need to rebuild their lives. Members include solicitors, barristers, legal executives and academics.
  • Any queries about this press release should be directed to APIL’s press and communications officer Julie Crouch on t: 07808 768623, e: [email protected] or communications manager Jane Hartwell on t: 07541 490 988 e: [email protected].
  • Follow @APIL on X: https://X.com/APIL and on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/company/association-of-personal-injury-lawyers.

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