Negligence claims cost NHS billions in compensation
Medical negligence is costing the NHS billions of pounds, new figures have revealed.
In the past five years from 2012/13 to 2016/17, the NHS has had to fork out a whopping £6.2bn in medical negligence claims. The shocking figures have been released under the Freedom of Information Act after a BBC investigation.
More locally, the Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust had to pay out £30.65 million in that period, including £2.38 million for medical mistakes made before April 1995 - but payouts were delayed because the claims took a long time to process.
The trust, which ran Stamford Hospital and Peterborough City Hospital, merged with the trust which runs Hinchingbrooke Hospital in April to become the North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust.
Stephen Graves, chief executive of the new trust, said: “Delivering good quality, safe care for our patients is our top priority and if, on rare occasions, something goes wrong we have systems in place to ensure we have open discussions with patients and relatives.
“These cases are fully investigated and any lessons learned are put into practice and monitored.”
Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust were 92nd out of 258 trusts for the highest amount of payments made, while neighbouring United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) were seventh in the ‘table’ having had to pay out more than £90 million in compensation and legal fees over the last five years - almost three times the amount paid out by Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
It was a similar picture at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, which paid out £92,416,900.14 to rank fifth in the ‘table’, while Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust were 211th having paid out £1,430,319.22
A spokesman for NHS Resolution, an authority that looks at litigation, said: “Incidents in maternity account for 10 per cent of the number of claims we receive each year but 50 per cent of the expected cost of the claims.
“This is because of the very high cost of cases which tragically involve brain damage at birth, where provision must be made for life-long and complex care needs.”
The Department of Health added: “Our relentless drive to improve patient safety, including an ambition to halve the rates of neonatal deaths, stillbirths, maternal deaths and brain injuries caused during or shortly after labour by 2025, will help to reduce traumatic and costly safety failings in the NHS and ensure better protection for patients.
“We’re ensuring taxpayers’ money is spent effectively by taking action against law firms creaming off excessive legal costs that dwarf the damages recovered – but we’re also clear we want to ensure patients continue to access justice at a reasonable cost.”