Pre-trial clinical negligence issues
Law-makers and policy-makers are keen on the idea of patient safety. Discussion documents, protocols and even statutes are full of references to it. Some of the rhetoric is no doubt genuinely well meaning, and indicates a real ambition to learn the lessons taught by medical accidents. Some is no doubt uttered with a cynical view to politically expedient headlines. But there is a depressingly large gulf between the rhetoric and the reality. In the context of the pretrial process, this chapter explores the rhetoric and the reality, and measures the gap between them. It asks whether the way that litigation is run concentrates the minds of defendants suffi ciently or at all on the patient safety issues raised by a claim, encouraging them to avoid similar mistakes in future.