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Medical negligence claims

Cuts to legal aid in medical negligence claims are “unfair”

The family of a girl who was left brain damaged due to medical negligence fear others in similar situations will struggle to claim compensation due to legal aid rule changes.

Kate Pierce from Wrexham developed a life-threatening infection which was wrongly diagnosed as viral tonsillitis in 2006.

She suffered severe brain damage and needed round-the-clock care. She was registered deaf and blind, had chronic lung disease and severe epilepsy, among other conditions.

The seven-year-old died last month while on holiday in Florida.

Following a six year battle by parents Mark and Diane, Betsi Cadwalader University Health Board (BCUHB) accepted 75 per cent responsibility for the compensation claim in April last year.

Mark and Diane said their claim was supported by legal aid but changes to the system now mean a clinical negligence case involving a nine month old child would not qualify.

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) is attempting to cut £350million from the £2.2billion legal aid bill through changes which came into force on 1st April.

The MOJ said it had enormous sympathy for people involved in these types of cases, but the majority “do not need legal aid”.

A spokesman said: “Currently 90 per cent of clinical negligence cases are heard without legal aid as they are suitable for a ‘no win no fee’ deal.

“We are, however, ensuring legal aid remains where negligent medical treatment during pregnancy or shortly after birth results in a baby being severely disabled and needing extra care for life.”

Mr Pierce told the BBC they were unhappy with the justification for the changes.

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