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Posted by: Ian Piper


Negligence pay-outs are ruining the NHS claim health leaders. The annual cost of clinical negligence claims has almost doubled since 2010. Last year alone, £1.7 billion was attributed to claim pay outs. Health leaders have written to Justice Secretary David Gauke, urging a reform of the current compensation system. The letter states “the rising cost of clinical negligence is unsustainable and means that vast amounts of resource which could be used more effectively have to be diverted elsewhere.” The letter does not ask for the removal of a pay-out system, as all personal injury victims should be fully compensated, but instead that a reform of the costs proportionate to the injury should be instigated. The system was already reformed last year, but experts have said that it has only served to make things worse and in fact, if all claims in England arising from past incidents are successful over future years total liabilities would amount to a "staggering" £65bn. The letter includes the NHS Confederation, the BMA, the Medical Defence Union and the Family Doctors Association amongst it’s signatories. “This is money that could be spent on frontline care. Given the wider pressures on the healthcare system, the rising cost of clinical negligence is already having an impact on what the NHS can provide." (Source – BBC)

Bitcoin fall wipes $44billion off value. The currency plummeted throughout the month of January by more than 10%. Economist had repeatedly warned of a bitcoin bubble after the price of the cryptocurrency surged last year by more than 900%. This recent fall is likely due to the investigation by US regulators into one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges which is linked to a digital asset thought to be inflating the price of bitcoin by billions of dollars. The investigation is into the Bitfinex exchange alongside digital asset Tether. Tether is a cryptocurrency which is designed to be pegged one to one with the US dollar in order to allow for the flexibility of cryptocurrency trading while keeping the stability of holding money in dollars rather than digital currencies, which can fluctuate rapidly. Bitfinex allows users to then sell their bitcoins for dollars and “withdraw” the money using Tether tokens. However, it has been claimed that Tether’s reserves are under-capitalised and upon creating new tokens the corresponding amount of US dollars are not deposited into the reserves. If the Tether tokens are not under pined by the equivalent of the US dollar then a significant amount of the value of bitcoin would be based on shaky foundations. Tether has said that all it’s coins are backed by dollars held in it’s reserves. There are currently over $2 billion Tether tokens outstanding, meaning the company should have at least the equal amount in it’s bank account. However, the company is yet to provide compelling evidence that this is the case and earlier in the week it fired it’s auditors, suggesting that an audit would be unattainable in the near future. The exact relationship between Bitfinex and Tether is unclear. They currently share the same CEO but are sperate institutions with distinct finances. (Source – The Guardian)

Increasing pressure on May to set out Britain’s future trade agreements. Mrs May has been in China for the past three days and upon concluding the visit has said that Britain would not face a choice between a free trade deal with the EU following Brexit, and striking deals with the rest of the world. The PM has faced increasing criticism from MPs, many her own, for not being more specific about her priorities on the UK’s future trade with the EU. She commented, "What I favour is a deal, an arrangement for trading with the European Union which is going to be good for trade between the UK and the European Union and good for jobs in Britain.” May has repeatedly said Brexit will mean leaving the single market and customs union. She has also commented that she is “not a quitter” and that there is “a job to be done.” (Source – BBC)

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