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The rising cost of medical malpractice claims has become a threat to the NHS and the question is whether patients should lose their rights, a senior business official in Whitehall has said.
The NHS Disputes Body, which provides compensation for legal claims against the health service, has set aside £26.1bn to cover overdue liabilities, equivalent to almost a quarter of the £113bn annual health budget and the £1.6bn paid out last year. The number of claims has increased by almost 18 percent since March 2013. Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, will tomorrow announce financial penalties for hospitals that do not clean up clinical errors, in a sign of growing concern over compensation costs. Hospitals that cannot prove they made an error that led to a clinical negligence claim could be fined up to £10,000 per case. In an interview with the FT, Michael Wade, a former government commissioner at Lloyds of London, tasked with investigating public sector insurance schemes, said of the NHS liability figure: “Danger, how is the country so affordable? that the local government was paying more than the insurance coverage. According to the judicial body, a claim for clinical negligence in relation to childbirth is the highest compensation claim. Mr Wade admitted it was an insensitive issue, but added: “It’s perfectly reasonable to raise a flag to say ‘we need to sit down and think about this.’ Your head in the sand.’ Sorry, statutory laws you can’t deal with’? Mr Wade also asked whether the current situation, where councils buy cover directly from insurance companies, at a cost of £450 million a year, is providing the best value for money.
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A corruption scandal that threatens to bankrupt Petrobras, Brazil’s oil group, has united international investors for the first time. A former executive of a company that builds drillships for Petrobras claimed in police testimony that two Singaporean shipbuilding companies and three Brazilian companies with Japanese minority shareholders were among five shipbuilders involved in a contract-skipping scheme.
Nigeria’s currency hit a record low against the dollar and stocks fell as investors reacted to the postponement of a presidential election that analysts said would hurt market sentiment.
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The announcement of the ECB’s quantitative easing program stole the headlines last month, but the outlook for low growth and inflation prompted many of the world’s central banks to cut interest rates in the first part of this year.
“The United States is considering arming Ukraine against Russian-backed separatist rebels if diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict fail, but no decision has been made,” President Barack Obama said.
At a White House news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he acknowledged a possible “tactical disagreement” between the United States and Europe over the crisis in eastern Ukraine. The US president said he had asked his advisers to “change Putin’s calculations” if diplomacy failed. “The possibility of a lethal defensive weapon is one of the options being explored,” he said. German and American leaders claim that there is no military solution to the conflict in Ukraine. Mrs. Merkel is categorically opposed to arming Ukraine and is making great efforts to reach an agreement with Putin. His visit to Washington comes after he and French President Francois Hollande held talks in Kiev and Moscow last week. Tomorrow in Minsk they will meet with Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Obama has faced mounting pressure from senior Republicans, and some members of his administration have chastised Kiev even as he moved forward. He said the supply of office weapons would be limited to allow Ukraine to defend itself against separatists and “was not based on the idea that Ukraine could defeat a formidable Russian army.”
HSBC is facing the prospect of new legislation in the UK and the US after the bank was hit by detailed allegations that it tried to evade taxes from clients in Switzerland. Europe’s biggest bank by assets could face a criminal investigation in Britain after it was forced to admit that Swiss private accounts may contain tax charges. Details of more than 100,000 of its users have been released to news organisations. David Gauck, the finance minister in charge of taxation, said the data was handed over to Revenue and Customs in 2010 by French authorities under “very strict conditions” that prevent the revenue from being shared with other law enforcement agencies. “With these restrictions, HMRC could not pursue other potential crimes such as money laundering,” Mr Gok told MPs. Meanwhile, the US Justice Department could review the deal, which shields HSBC from prosecution for previous crimes related to money-laundering charges. In 2012, HSBC agreed to pay $1.9 billion for deferred prosecution agreements, or DPAs, related to violations in all countries. Sanctions such as Iran and Latin American drug cartels. Tax disclosures can force officials to open a DPA and possibly revoke it. British government insiders said a decision had been made to launch a criminal investigation. Any such move would be complicated by the fact that HSBC’s Swiss branch is subject to Swiss jurisdiction. PA can be reopened. “The DPA is a signed agreement that can only be terminated if HSBC breaches it,” the bank said. Clients and agreements with them to hide “black” accounts from tax authorities, which has caused a political storm in several countries. HSBC is one of a dozen banks under investigation by the Justice Department, part of a broader investigation into Swiss banks that allegedly helped their clients evade US taxes. CreditSuisse pleaded guilty last year and paid a $2.6 billion fine. But HSBC may have more problems, as it has repeatedly been in contact with US authorities.
Volume 47, Issue 33, August 12, 2016
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David Cameron has called on senior officials to draw up contingency plans in case Greece leaves the eurozone, amid concerns over the increasingly hardline approach of the new Syriza government. Downing Street negotiators discussed the negative impact of Brexit on the British economy, including the impact on the City and the ability of British tourists to stay abroad if there is money abroad. Sir Nicholas Macpherson, the most senior civil servant at the Treasury, was among those who briefed Mr. .Last year, according to the Bank for International Settlements, total exposure was $13.5 billion, dwarfing the exposure of German banks. Last month, Mark Carney, the BoE governor, told MPs that British banks had “very little direct exposure to Greece”. But that discussion has largely focused on the indirect risk Brexit poses to economic stability in the eurozone, Britain’s biggest trading partner. “Given that this week we have a new Greek government and discussions between European leaders, now is the right time to move on to contingency plans again.” In his latest financial stability review, he noted that weakness in the eurozone will soon hurt the UK economy and that “any deterioration in market confidence could lead to a sharp fall in risk asset prices and lead to losses in trading books. Banks”. Greece’s finance minister failed to secure support for Greece’s debt restructuring. Asked about the risk to the City of London of Greece leaving the eurozone, a Number10 spokesman said: “This is something we have to be careful about. There is global economic interdependence and London is clearly the main global hub. FINANCIAL. The spokesman also said the situation was less worrying than in 2012. He said the risk of contagion was more limited than before, pointing to reformed financial regulation, bank recapitalization and the strong financial positions of countries such as Ireland and Spain. Cameron travels to Brussels for European with fellow governments at the summit, where he will meet Greece’s new leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for the first time.