Archives for May 5th, 2001

LIFELONG LEARNING BECOMING MORE POPULAR

Headlines, PublicNet: 5 May, 2001

One of the key policies to foster lifelong learning is delivering results more quickly than expected. Individual Learning Accounts, a scheme launched in September 2000 to give a package of discounts for courses, has attracted 1 million applicants, one year ahead of the target date. There is a steady flow of applications and 3000 new accounts are being opened every day.Learning Accounts are designed to improve skills and job prospects. They are available to anyone aged 19 or over. When applicants have received their Account Card they are able to claim a range of discounts. For courses such as computer literacy or introduction to maths, they are eligible for an 80 percent discount, up to a maximum of 200 pounds per year. For other courses they can claim up to a 20 percent discount up to a maximum of 100 pounds per year. At the end of each year account holders will receive a statement showing the outstanding balance of unused discounts.

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USE SCALPEL ON CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE LEGAL COSTS

Headlines, PublicNet: 5 May, 2001

Outstanding claims alleging medical negligence amount to 2.6 billion pounds, with an estimated liability of a further 1.3 billion pounds where claims have not yet been received. A new report by the National Audit Office reveals that for most claims up to 50,000 pounds the legal costs exceeded the amount of damages paid. Because litigation is such an inefficient process for these claims it urges NHS Trusts to look at alternatives.The report suggests that one alternative would be to treat claims up to 50,000 pounds as complaints rather than as cases centred on the payment of damages. Using the complaints process a Trust would give a full explanation and, if appropriate, an apology and offer compensation. If the offer was not acceptable the patient could take the case to a regional panel who would apply current legal criteria for deciding whether clinical negligence had occurred. The panel would have the power to make an award up to a given ceiling.

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