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NHS charged £83k legal bill for a £1k claim sparking outrage

The NHS Litigation Authority chief Catherine Dixon has lifted the lid on the charges levied by solicitors during compensation claims against the NHS, to reveal how some charge up to 80 times more than the value of the claim they are seeking, reports the Daily Mail.

According to the Mail, the NHS is launching a 'crackdown' on excessively high bills levied by solicitors representing patients with claims for compensation.

The head of the NHS Litigation Authority, Catherine Dixon, has highlighted the shocking extent of the size of legal bills in relation to compensation claims.

UK law to permit sale of home HIV testing kits

The UK Government is to legislate to allow the sale of 'home-testing kits' for HIV infection in the UK, despite the fact that no such device exists in the UK market at present, reports the BBC.

The Government has passed a law that will in future allow UK citizens to buy a home-testing kit to diagnose HIV infection, without the need to visit a doctor's surgery, hospital or sexual health clinic.

The law has been passed despite the fact that no such device exists in the UK market, and none has received approval by European regulators either.

UK's first prosecution for Female Genital Mutilation announced

The Crown Prosecution Service in the UK has delighted campaigners after announcing the first ever prosecutions for Female Genital Mutilation, despite the practice being illegal in the UK for the past 30 years, reports the BBC.

The CPS has announced that a British-based doctor and another man are to be prosecuted under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 for an offence conducted at the Whittington Hospital in East London.

Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena who is 31, and an associate, Mr Hasan Mohamed, who is 40 years old and is not a doctor, have been charged after it was alleged they conducted a restoration circumcision procedure on a woman who had given birth back in 2012.

Medical negligence: Parents of premature baby will take legal action

The parents of a baby born extremely prematurely in Singleton Hospital in Swansea have announced that they intend to sue the hospital trust where he died, reports the BBC.

Rohan Rhodes was born 14 weeks early at Singleton Hospital in Swansea in August 2012. Despite being extremely premature, Rohan had survived the initial few weeks of life on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Rohan was then transferred to Bristol's St Michaels' Hospital, which is a leading centre for the highly specialised paediatric cardiac surgery, where he was due to have a duct-closure procedure.

Mothers threaten legal action over home birth ban

A group of expecting women in Norfolk have threatened their local NHS hospital with legal action, after the hospital placed a ban on home births due to a shortage of midwives.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn recently ruled that all expecting women would have to have their babies in the hospital's maternity ward, rather than at home, because of a severe shortage of midwives.

At present home birthing services are offered by most hospitals and NHS trusts, with good evidence to suggest that mothers who wish to give birth at home should be supported to do so, providing the pregnancy is low risk.

Legal 'test' case could see mothers sued for pregnancy binges

A legal case is being brought by a local council against the mother who drank excessive alcohol during pregnancy which has left her six-year-old daughter brain damaged, reports the Daily Mail and the Sunday Times.

The court case is being seen as a 'test case' for other mothers who have drunk during pregnancy and caused their children to suffer long-term brain damage. If the case is successful it could lead to other mothers being prosecuted for a criminal offence.

The Sunday Times reported that a council in the North West of England will take their case to the Court of Appeal, seeking to sue the mother of the six-year-old girl. It is understood the council will seek compensation on behalf of the girl for the permanent damage caused to her by her mother's drinking.

Lord Saatchi seeks public support for 'health innovation' bill

The Conservative peer Lord Saatchi has used an article in The Telegraph to appeal to the public to participate in the consultation on his Private Members' Bill on health innovation.

Mr Saatchi, one half of the advertising executive duo Saatchi & Saatchi along with his brother, art collector Charles Saatchi, has called on the public to support his bill, which aims to liberate doctors to trial risky new treatments on patients dying of cancer.

Mr Saatchi's wife, the novelist Josephine Hart, died of ovarian carcinoma in 2011, and Mr Saatchi has subsequently campaigned to change the law so that doctors dealing with incurable conditions such as cancer are able to trial innovative treatment approaches on patients with terminal conditions.

Government announces ban on 'e-cigarettes' for under-18s

The Government has announced plans to introduce new laws to ban under-18s from buying so called 'e-cigarettes', believing their health properties to still be unproven, reports the BBC.

E-cigarettes have proved to be extremely popular, with figures estimating them to be used currently by 1.3m people in the UK. The electronic cigarette allows the user to inhale nicotine vapour without tar.

The devices have until recently been largely unregulated and are manufactured outside of medical guidelines. The e-cigarettes are purchased online, in shops and via adverts in newspapers.

Fiancée of banker in coma fights for right to harvest sperm

The fiancée of a man on life support has launched a legal action in the High Court in a bid to be allowed to take his sperm so that she can have his baby, something she claims the man would have consented to if he were able to, reports The Telegraph.

The High Court case will feature AB, a woman whose name will be kept from the media throughout the court case. AB was engaged to be married to her fiancé known in the case as 'P', an investment banker.

'P' suffered a series of heart attacks in December 2013, which have left him in what is described by doctors as a 'permanent vegetative state', or PVS.

New law in Ireland clarifies position on abortion

The Irish Government has enacted a new law to help to clarify the circumstances when abortion is permitted within the law, reports the BBC.

Ireland is a strongly Roman Catholic country that has long held strict laws on abortion, which previously was only permitted in circumstances when the life of the mother was in grave danger.

Unlike in the UK, in Ireland the foetus has a right to life that equals the right to life of the mother.

Man paralysed from neck down seeks right to die

A man paralysed from the neck down following a car accident is bringing his case to the Supreme Court to ask for permission to allow him the right to die, reports the Daily Mail.

Paul Lamb, 58, was left paralysed from the neck down by a car accident back in 1990 when he was 35 years old. The accident left him immobile from the neck down, although he retains some limited movement in his right hand and experiences significant pain.

Mr Lamb is joined in his action by Jane Nicklinson, widow of the late Tony Nicklinson. Mr Nicklinson died of bronchopneumonia in August 2012, after losing his Court of Appeal case requesting the right to die.

Charities demand new laws to protect cancer carers

Leading charities have called on the Government to draft new laws that would entitle those looking after a relative or friend with cancer to specialist support, reports The Telegraph.

The chief executives of 13 leading cancer charities have written an open letter, published in The Telegraph, asking that Britain's one million informal carers be given legal rights to specialist help as part of an amendment to the Government's new Care Bill.

The charities, including major names such as Cancer Research UK and Macmillan, believe that without proper support those caring for a loved one or friend with cancer could simply 'buckle under the pressure'.

A second criminal investigation has been launched in the wake of unnecessary deaths at Stafford Hospital, reports the BBC.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced that the death of patient Ivy Bunn, age 90, would be investigated, after she died in 2008 after suffering three falls in the space of four days.

The HSE has already prosecuted the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust over the death of another patient and announced that a further 173 other deaths and incidents are under ongoing investigation.

Social services in Essex are facing an international legal row after obtaining legal permission to remove a child from the womb of a mother via caesarean section, reports The Telegraph.

A legal and ethical row has erupted over the weekend, after it emerged that social services in Essex forcibly sedated a pregnant woman and removed her child by caesarean section to take into social services care.

The council in question claims that obtaining the High Court order to have the baby removed during an operation was in the best interests of the Italian mother, who they say had suffered an acute psychiatric event whilst on holiday in the UK.

Healthcare: Hospitals in England to publish safety data

A new government scheme designed to make hospitals safer by forcing them to publish information on short staffing is set to become law next year, reports the BBC.

Hospitals in England will be required to regularly publish data to staffing levels on wards, so that short staffing can easily be identified and monitored.

The move is part of a wide-ranging package of measures recommended by the Francis report into the catalogue of care failures at the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.