§ Mr. Lidington
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is his policy towards the use of alternative dispute resolution procedures to deal with allegations of negligence in the NHS. 
§ Mr. Denham
We are keen to find improved ways of handling clinical negligence claims which do not involve litigation. The National Health Service Executive launched pilot mediation schemes in the Anglia and Oxford and Northern and Yorkshire regions in April 1995 with the aim of exploring the scope for mediation as an appropriate alternative to litigation in the resolution of clinical disputes. The pilots ended last year and an evaluation project is in the final stages of reporting. We will look carefully at the findings and particularly whether there is scope to extend the use of mediation in the NHS.