Tag Archives: GB


News story: Plans for fixed cap on legal costs for medical negligence cases

The government intends to impose a new, fixed cap on all clinical negligence cases up to £25,000 to prevent rising litigation costs within the NHS. There are numerous examples of lawyers who profit from the NHS by charging more than 80 times the amount awarded to the victims in minor claims.

In one case, lawyers claimed £83,000 in legal costs for a case in which the patient was awarded £1,000. These costs contributed to a total bill for the NHS of £1.5 billion in financial year 2015 to 2016.

Currently, there is no limit on legal costs that can be recouped and the money claimed by lawyers takes vital funds away from NHS trusts. It is expected the new cap will help the NHS save up to £45 million a year.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

It’s important that when significant mistakes happen in the NHS, patients are able to have an open dialogue with a trust about what went wrong, receive reassurance of what is being learnt, and can discuss what form of recompense or redress may be appropriate. Legal action should only be one part of this process.

Unfortunately, what we often see in lower cost claims is a deeply unfair system where unscrupulous law firms cream off excessive legal costs that dwarf the actual damages recovered. We believe this creates an adversarial culture of litigation, which is inflating insurance premiums and drawing away resource from the NHS at a crucial time.

Andrew Foster, Chief Executive at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust, said:

The introduction of a fixed recoverable cost for lower value claims would support more proportionate payment to claimant lawyers – which alongside improvements to the system should make things quicker and better for patients. This seems fair and appropriate recognising this all comes out of the NHS pot. Less money spent on legal costs will mean more to put into improved patient care at a local level.

See consultation on plans for fixed recoverable costs for clinical negligence claims.

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Press release: Interim Manager appointed to Sikh charity

Interim Manager appointed to The Central Gurdwara (British Isles) London Khalsa Jatha (258324).

The Charity Commission has appointed an Interim Manager to The Central Gurdwara (British Isles) London Khalsa Jatha. The appointment comes as part of the regulator’s inquiry into the charity, which began in July 2015.

The inquiry is examining a range of concerns, including the trustees’ failure to comply with a previous action plan set by the Commission, and concerns about potential unauthorised trustee benefit and unmanaged conflicts of interest. A statement about the investigation is available on GOV.UK.

The Commission has now appointed Tom Murdoch of Stone King as Interim Manager of the charity. His task is limited to determining the membership of the charity. The charity’s trustees remain responsible for the day-to-day management of the charity, including its financial management.

The Interim Manager was appointed on 26 January 2016.

The Commission’s investigation continues. It is the Commission’s policy, after it has concluded an inquiry, to publish a report detailing what issues the inquiry looked at, what actions were undertaken as part of the inquiry and what the outcomes were. Reports of previous inquiries are available on GOV.UK.

The charity’s registered number is 258324.


PR 06/17

Notes to editors

  1. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. To find out more about our work, see our annual report.
  2. Search for charities on our online register.
  3. Section 46 of the Charities Act 2011 gives the Commission the power to institute inquiries. The opening of an inquiry gives the Commission access to a range of investigative, protective and remedial legal powers.
  4. The Commission’s decision to announce the opening of a statutory inquiry is based on whether it is in the public interest to do so and with consideration of our objective to increase public trust and confidence in charities.
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News story: Chief Secretary welcomes an investment of more than £100 million creating 100 jobs in Oxford medical research

David Gauke, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, was in Oxford today (30 January 2017) to welcome global healthcare company Novo Nordisk’s announcement of an investment of more than £100 million in the city, creating 100 skilled jobs in diabetic drug discovery in a new research centre.

Laboratory facilities are being created in a new state-of-the-art Oxford University building, which has received £12 million of government funding. Two floors of the building will be occupied by Novo Nordisk and two floors by start-up companies created from ongoing Oxford University research.

Novo Nordisk’s research will help discover new ways of treating type 2 diabetes, one of the world’s biggest public health issues.

The Chief Secretary earlier hosted a round table with senior representatives of Oxford technology companies, covering sectors including autonomous vehicles, biotechnology and reforestation. They discussed government support, including the Industrial Strategy, as well as opportunities and challenges for the future.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke said:

I welcome Novo Nordisk’s investment at Oxford University, which is a vote of confidence in the UK’s position as a world-leader in science and research.

A thriving science and technology sector is key to supporting economic growth, and the government has committed to support further research and innovation in all sectors with an additional £4.7 billion R&D spending by 2020-21.

We are also listening to our industries about their challenges and ambitions. That’s why I sat down today with representatives from some of Britain’s outstanding technology companies based in Oxford.

The UK’s strengths in science, research and innovation are a major focus of the government’s industrial strategy.

The government has announced a range of support for science and technology, including:

  • an additional £4.7 billion by 2020-21 of R&D spending – the largest increase by any government since 1979
  • this is in addition to existing commitments from the spending review to protect science resource funding in real terms over the parliament and spend £6.9 billion on capital infrastructure between 2015-2021 *a new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, to support business-university collaboration

Meeting attendees:

  • Ryan Cawood, CEO Oxford Genetics
  • Dr Gordon Sanghera, CEO Nanopore Technologies
  • Mike Clary, CEO Bodle Technologies
  • Eliot Forster, CEO Immunocore
  • Professor Andrew Harrison, CEO Diamond Light Source
  • Dr Graeme Smith, CEO Oxbotica
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Press release: Man given suspended jail term over illegal Wakefield waste site

A Dewsbury man has been handed a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, for illegally dumping waste on disused land in Horbury, Wakefield.

Samuel Joseph Stringer Hunter, 25, of Boothroyd Lane, Dewsbury, was sentenced by Kirklees Magistrates’ Court on 27 January following an Environment Agency investigation.

Hunter had denied two environmental offences but was found guilty after a trial.

Lorna Matchett, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told the court that investigating officers discovered the illegal activities in July 2014.

Hunter had been storing waste on land near Bridge Road, near the River Calder behind the Horbury Bridge Industrial Estate, although no environmental permits were in place for the operation.

There were several piles of mixed waste containing treated and untreated wood waste and plastics, and skips belonging to the Hunter Group or Huddersfield Skip Services, both of which were Hunter was involved with at the time.

The defendant claimed that these waste activities were allowed because they were covered by waste permitting exemptions. But the Environment Agency said the waste was being stored in breach of the exemptions: there was too much waste, it was of a type not compliant with the exemptions and it was stored for too long.

Hunter was told to clear the waste from the site, but inspections between October 2014 and January 2015 revealed that much of it remained. There were also signs that waste had been deposited into the ground, which was contaminated with plastic, glass, a trainer and mixed construction and demolition waste.

The court heard that through running the site illegally, Hunter avoided £4,120 in permitting fees and £5,148 by not installing the correct surfacing to prevent pollution to the ground. It is estimated that Hunter received between £6,400 and £18,720 for the waste he brought onto the site.

In sentencing, the chair of the bench said:

These offences were so serious that custody was the only option.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said after the hearing:

Environmental permitting regulations exist to protect the environment and local communities from the risk of harm. Hunter’s activities on this site posed a pollution risk and a fire risk that could have affected the nearby railway line. Hunter also undercut legitimate businesses by avoiding mandatory permitting and infrastructure costs.

We hope this case demonstrates the importance of environmental compliance. Anyone who breaks the rules will be pursued. Anyone who believes waste is being dumped illegally is urged to report the matter to our incident hotline on 0800 807060 so we can investigate.

Prior to sentencing, Hunter told the court in mitigation that he had cleaned up the waste in the shortest possible time.

In addition to the suspended jail term, he was ordered to undertake a rehabilitation activity of 15 days under supervision, and to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work within the next 12 months. Hunter must also pay legal costs of £4,640 and a victim surcharge of £150.

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News story: Precision medicine in South Africa: apply for funding

UK businesses can apply for a share of £1.5 million to work with South African partners on non-communicable diseases and child health.

Innovate UK has up to £1.5 million to invest in business projects to develop affordable gene-based diagnostics for non-communicable diseases and child health in South Africa.

The competition aims to encourage innovative partnerships between the UK and South Africa. It is co-funded by Innovate UK and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC).

Projects should seek to develop affordable gene-based diagnostic solutions and targeted treatments for one or more of the following health challenges in South Africa:

  • diabetes
  • cardiovascular disease
  • cancer
  • child mortality

The competition is administered by the Newton Fund. Projects must demonstrate how they can have a positive social, economic and/or environmental impact on the wider South African population.

The Newton Fund is part of the UK’s official development assistance. It uses science and innovation partnerships to promote economic development and social welfare of partner countries.

  • the competition is open, and the registration deadline is midday 10 May 2017
  • projects must be led by a UK business working with at least one South African business or research organisation
  • we expect projects to range in size from £300,000 to £500,000 on the UK side and to last up to 36 months
  • UK businesses could attract up to 70% of their project costs
  • South African partners will be funded by SAMRC
  • a briefing event for potential applicants takes place on 3 February 2017
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