Letter: Medical mistakes

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The British Medical Association for many years has applauded the New Zealand system of no-fault compensation, which recognises that (for instance) a child with spasticity of no obvious cause has the same needs as a child with spasticity following a medical mishap, and therefore should have them met (leading article, 21 July; letter, 23 July).

Doctors have not held up the introduction of this into the NHS: politicians have; lawyers have. Your suggestion that trusts and doctors should not dispute cause is incompletely thought out: it does nothing for the people with needs which cannot be traced to an actionable mistake, or indeed for the doctors whose lives are damaged by the adversarial system they fund, out of expenses the state must eventually meet through us.

Dr ADRIAN MIDGLEY

Exeter

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