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No let-up in 'special measures' recommendations for NHS trusts

There seems to be no let-up in the stream of NHS trusts hauled before the Chief Inspector of Hospitals to be condemned like heretics before the Inquisition. The latest to be recommended for 'special measures' was East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.

The verdict follows a woeful series of similar stories. In September the national press latched onto a similar fate befalling the Cambridge University Hospitals Trust, administrator of the internationally-lauded Addenbrooke's Hospital.

What is particularly saddening about these stories is that nobody in their right mind thinks NHS staff set about wanting to be 'Inadequate', or turn up at work thinking they will do anything other than their level best to provide the best care for their patients. There is often what the Care Quality Commission describes as a 'disconnect' between staff and management, with management seeming to have little idea of what actually providing that care involves.

Last Updated on Thursday, 08 October 2015 08:25


Were conciliatory tones just for the occasion - or are we still gearing up for a fight over human rights?

Your Expert Witness blog logoThe legal world has been buzzing with the same subject over the last month as pretty well every other sector of professional life - that election result.

The Law Society had set out its own manifesto, detailing the changes it saw as being essential to the principal of access to justice. Like most of us, the society expected to be dealing with a new government that would include at least two parties - or if not, a minority government that would be vulnerable to third party pressure.

What it got was Michael Gove. It is widely expected that he has been brought in, along with his pugnacious style, to steer through the abolition of the Human Rights Act and its replacement with a 'British Bill of Rights' that would not be beholden to Europe.

That course of action is opposed tooth and nail by the Law Society, which is gearing up for a fight.

At his installation as Lord Chancellor, however, both Mr Gove and the Law Society vice-president sounded uncharacteristically conciliatory. It remains to be seen whether the warmer tones were employed for the pomp of the occasion.

• One issue that has carried over from the last government is that of leasehold extension, the Right to Manage and freehold 'emancipation'. Former Communities Secretary Eric Pickles took an active interest in the issue.

He was also responsible for 'Florrie's Law', restricting the amount councils can charge leaseholders for repairs which are partly publicly funded. It is named after the tragic victim of an astronomical bill for repairs from a council - repairs which had not been costed and which, it turned out, didn't need doing anyway.

• While housebuilding has been the focus of construction activity in this country, at least from a political point of view, internationally there has been a massive burgeoning of infrastructure and major projects in some regions, including well known centres of activity around growing economies. With increased globalisation comes increased complexity around disputes.

To help contractors and major project managers and stakeholders make some kind of sense of what the issues are and where, lawyers Clyde & Co have published a heavyweight guide to dispute resolution across the globe. The watchword, as always, is to make sure you get the right expert advice.

• Here at Your Expert Witness we have been engaged in a campaign to encourage people to leave a legacy to charity in their will - after they have provided for their family and others close to them. The essential precursor to that, of course, is that they should make a will in the first place. Still, half of us haven't made a will, despite being harangued from all sides to do so.

The latest to jump on the soap box is the Ministry of Justice. Its Choice not Chance campaign is aimed at the younger adult age group - those least likely to have thought about such awkward subjects. In addition to encouraging will-writing, the MoJ campaign encourages young people to have 'that difficult conversation' with their parents regarding lasting power of attorney and to consider joining the Organ Donor Register.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 June 2015 13:05

Go west, young man, if you want to make a buck or two; but don’t sleep in the subway

Your Expert Witness blog logoLife for expert witnesses is about to go on the up, according to a report from industry research organisation IBISWorld. The report says: “During the recession, demand for the expert witness consulting services fell due to lower corporate profits and tightened government budgets. However, as the economic downturn’s aftereffects start to dwindle away, demand for industry services will rise as budgets return to prerecessionary levels.

“In the next five years, the industry is set to benefit from an increase in per capita disposable income, government consumption and investment, corporate profit and strengthened demand from law firms.”

One thing: the report specifically refers to the US. Still, you never know.

• Once more, PM Dave’s appointment of senior officials has led him into accusations of ‘inappropriate’ choices. The latest appointee to come under fire from the Opposition is new solicitor general Robert Buckland. His opposite number Emily Thornberry described his appointment as “an insult to lawyers” after it emerged he had failed to mention the fact he had been found guilty of professional misconduct as a barrister.

The story goes back to 2011 when Mr Buckland was found guilty of “a minor breach” of the code of conduct and ordered to pay half of the costs of the hearing, but given no sanction.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 February 2015 17:10