I propose to take Questions Nos. 648 and 650 together.
The briefing paper on reforms in the arrangements for the provision of medical indemnity cover for clinical negligence gives 1 July 2001 as a target date for the introduction of enterprise liability. The transition from the existing arrangements to a system based on enterprise liability is a complex undertaking involving negotiations with a wide range of interests. As enterprise liability will replace a number of existing insurance-indemnity arrangements for different groups of practitioners, it may be introduced in a number of distinct stages.
It is the Government's intention that the enterprise liability system will take on the responsibility for handling and settling claims arising from incidents which occur after the commencement date of the scheme. It is not the intention to relieve existing insurance-indemnity carriers of liabilities which are properly theirs and which they have already been paid to bear. However, the exact basis on which the transition from the existing to new arrangements will be made is a matter for discussion and negotiation.