The Scottish government has set up a team of experts to look into whether NHS patients should be able to claim compensation even if negligence cannot be proved.
It would mean a change to the present system whereby compensation depends on proving legal responsibility and clinical negligence.
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon set up the group, led by Glasgow University’s Professor Sheila McLean, to consider if a “no-fault” system could be introduced, enabling patients to be compensated without having to got through the legal system.
In 2007, the SNP made a no-fault system part of its manifesto, saying an NHS Redress Bill would provide a convenient alternative to chasing up a medical negligence claim without a long legal battle.
The system would work in a similar way to the rules set up for criminal injuries compensation by requiring a patient to prove injuries were caused by medical treatment without the need to establish blame or responsibility.
Professor McLean, director of the institute of law and ethics at Glasgow University, will look at how a no-fault system would work alongside the existing framework.
Ms Sturgeon said: “In our recent consultation on a Patient’s Rights Bill, we made it clear that we would look at the potential benefits for patients in Scotland of a no-fault compensation scheme.”
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