The amount paid out by the NHS in compensation claims resulting from medical negligence hit a new high last year according to the latest figures released by the NHS litigation Authority (NHS LA). The total bill arising from clinical negligence compensation claims litigation was £1.2 billion for the 2011 - 2012 financial year. This figure shows a significant increase on last year's total bill, which came to £863 million. The figures released by the NHS LA also revealed a further £52.4 million was paid out during the period for non-clinical claims; ie. claims by staff, patients or visitors who suffered a non-treatment related injury whilst in a hospital.
The increase in the amount paid out in compensation has been attributed to a 'surge' in the number of claims been made against NHS trusts in the UK. According to figures from the authority, there were 13,761 claims in the 2011 - 2012 period; a steady increase on the previous year's figure of 13,001 and a large increase on the figure from 2009 to 2010, which stood at 10,726 individual claims.
These figures clearly indicate that there are still far too many mistakes being made by doctors and medical staff in the NHS and the rise in the number of individual claims and total amount paid in compensation last year suggest that the situation is getting worse.
NHS trusts have a duty of care to their patients and mistakes that are made, either during the diagnosis process, or during treatment or surgery, can have a devastating impact on an individual.
If you would like to speak to one of our medical negligence solicitors about the possibility of making a claim, either in relation to yourself or a family member, please do not hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to discuss your case on a free of charge basis.
By Des Draper, Medical Negligence Solicitor in Lancashire