' There is no evidence of a compensation culture in the NHS, according to Stephen Walker.

He told delegates that, after 10 years in the profession, "the high-profile clinical cases that were fuelling the debate are now dropping".

As a "compensator" he believed that the US tort model which has been discussed as part of the Compensation Bill is a "reasonable system".

"I look forward to the Law Society's views on this, but I think a tort system can work which has the 'no fault' element to it," he said.

In the NHS, if there is an "admission of liability then we have to ask ourselves what are we going to offer."

Contrary to the common perception that claims farmers stalk the wards of UK hospitals, Walker said that "they are not on our agenda".

He called on the courts to be more "helpful" to the compensators and said that the "lump sum offered to claimants will be difficult to justify in the future".

"The term redress is far more appropriate in my mind than compensation," he added.

Stephen Walker is chief executive of the NHS Litigation Authority.