§ Mr. Redmond
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will give consideration to the funding of legal claims to ensure that(a) purchasers and providers have access to insurance policies to indemnify themselves against claims and (b) budgets for patient services are not affected by the level of claims made against the unit; if he will consider any other schemes which will enable people with grievances against the national health service to have their complaints heard in whatever is the most appropriate manner with the most suitable redress and resolution being made available; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Malone
My Department has no plans to fund legal claims made against national health service trusts.
Pilot schemes using mediation as an alternative means of handling clinical negligence claims have been launched in two English regions. We hope that mediation will prove to be a less stressful, more cost-effective and quicker option than litigation in some clinical negligence cases. Also, in response to the Wilson report "Being Heard", published in 1994, my Department published in March 1995, "Acting on Complaints", which sets out plans for a simpler, fairer and more effective NHS complaints system that we are aiming to produce from April 1996. Copies of both documents have been placed in the Library.