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Call to cap NHS negligence legal costs, NHS staff to ‘say sorry’ and why we should give up booze altogether

The BBC reports on Government moves to cap excessive legal costs charged by lawyers in medical negligence claims, after official stats showed the NHS paid out £259m for legal fees in 2013-14.

Health minister Ben Gummer said: ‘Safe, compassionate care is my upmost priority and to achieve this, the NHS must make sure every penny counts. Unscrupulously, some lawyers have used patient claims to load grossly excessive costs onto the NHS and charge far more than the patient receives in compensation.’

Elsewhere the Guardian reports that doctors and nurses will be made to give face-to-face apologies for medical blunders under ‘tough new rules’ to make the NHS ‘more honest’.

The move is part of the GMC’s new guidance on the ‘duty of candour’, published today.

Sir Terence Stephenson, chair of the GMC, said: ‘Saying “I am sorry” is intuitive. You want to avoid saying, for example, “my trust regrets” or “the organisation that I work for regrets”. These could be seen by patients as slightly weasel words. They want a personal apology and for the doctor or the team to show genuine contrition.’

Scientists say guidelines should recommend people stop drinking alcohol completely to avoid developing cancer, the Metro declares.

Well, not quite – it turns out experts are saying that drinking within current recommended limits still leads to ‘dangerous’ levels of inflammation and that guidelines should change – so women drink no more than 21 units per week and men 28 units.

Katherine Brown, director of the Institute of Alcohol Studies, said: ‘Both Canada and Australia reviewed their drinking guidelines recently and, based on the latest available evidence, set lower limits for regular alcohol consumption than the current UK weekly guidelines.’