NHS Faces £4.3 Billion Medical Negligence Bill

NHS England could have to pay out £4.3 billion in compensation to settle outstanding medical negligence claims.

This is according to the BBC, which compiled the statistics through a Freedom of Information request.

According to the BBC, it reached this figure by taking into account all current ongoing claims and expected new ones.

Current claims

In 2018/19, the NHS received 10,678 new medical negligence claims. In NHS Resolution’s 2018/19 annual report, it revealed that liabilities from claims under all its indemnity schemes reached a total of £83.4 billion.

The Department of Health said it would take action to address “the unsustainable rise in the cost of clinical negligence”.

According to NHS Resolution, the majority of clinical claims are settled with damages being awarded. It pointed out that of the 11,417 settled clinical claims in 2018/19, 44% were settled without damages. Meanwhile, of the 11,625 closed clinical claims, 41% were settled without damages.

System reform

The Medical Defence Union (MDU), which represents doctors at risk of legal action, called for a system reform.

Dr Christine Tomkins, MDU chief executive, told the BBC: “This is money that should be going to healthcare, but instead is going to compensation claims, which is impairing all of our access to healthcare.

“We are now awarding compensation in sums of money higher than almost anywhere in the world. What we need is a fundamental change to the legal system.”

Suing the NHS

Suzanne White, from the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, said she was approached by clients who had no intention of suing the NHS, but that they had found it difficult to get answers from the authorities. They were therefore left with no option but to sue.

She explained that they want to find out what went wrong and why they sustained injuries they did, as well as to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else.

White added that although just 10% of claims relate to childbirth and gynaecology, they account for 50% of compensation awarded. This is because a baby injured at birth may then require a lifetime of care.

What to do

If you’ve suffered from medical negligence – either through the NHS or private care – you could make a claim for compensation. To find out how First4Lawyers can help, just give us a call, request a call back or start your claim online.

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