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According to clients, DAC Beachcroft LLP is ‘the prime defendant practice in the region’. The firm fields ‘a very strong and well-balanced team of sound and committed lawyers’ which attracts praise for its ‘incredible all-round service and quality in depth’. David Weatherburn leads the ‘truly first-class group’ and has ‘sound tactical sense and an excellent attention to detail’. The firm is regularly called on by the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) to handle clinical negligence matters and recently assisted it with a claim relating to an alleged negligent hip replacement surgery. It also acted for the same client in a claim regarding alleged negligent obstetric care during labour. Neil Rowe is singled out for his ‘ability to see the bigger picture’ and for his ‘impressive strategic and tactical skills’; Rowe recently represented the NHSLA and North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust in multiple claims concerning the use of partially sterilised endoscopic instruments at Cumberland Infirmary. Rowe also acted for Spire Healthcare in the high-profile PIP breast implant group action, and defended the NHSLA in a claim regarding obstetric and anaesthetic treatment of post-partum haemorrhaging. The Medical Defence Union, Marketform and Allied World are also noteworthy clients.

A top performer’, Ward Hadaway acts for more than 60 NHS organisations, including multiple NHS trusts. Highlights included defending the NHSLA and Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in a negligence claim brought by a claimant with cerebral palsy; acting for the NHSLA and County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust in a matter concerning delayed diagnosis and treatment of neonatal hypoglycaemia; and advising the Secretary of State for Health on a high-value birth negligence claim. The group is led by the ‘excellentJeffrey Keeble, who specialises in high-value birth injury claims. Other key figures include Nicola Richardson, who acts for the NHSLA and health care trusts and also has substantial inquest experience; Kathryn Myers, who is noted for her track record in cases involving birth injury, cancer treatment and group litigation; and birth injury specialist Lisa Evans. Gillian Muir and Robert Rushton are also recommended.

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