Official figures released show that the NHS has set aside £56 billion to pay for medical mistakes made by their staff. This represents almost half of the total NHS budget.
The figures have prompted the National Audit Office (NAO) to launch a 6-month investigation as to why this amount of money is necessary.
In the 2006-07 period, 5,419 claims were received by the NHS. That number increased to 10,965 in 2015-16.
The NHS Litigation Authority, the body that deals with claims on behalf of the NHS, said that despite the number of claims falling by 4.6 per cent last year, claimant legal costs had risen by 43 per cent.
The Society of Clinical Injury Lawyers (SCIL) is the body of Medical/Clinical Negligence Specialists that has been working hard to get the Government to look at the costs of Medical/Clinical Negligence case. SCIL criticised the staggering cost, with the cause being a culture of “defend, deny and delay”. They support the NAO enquiry, stating it is long overdue and critical for the safety of patients in the country.
The organisation estimates that the NHS is losing almost 76 per cent of the cases that they take to court. This not only adds to its legal bills but also prolongs the emotional suffering for patients and families. It is alleged that most of these cases should have been settled much earlier without the substantial costs of court proceedings.
SCIL estimates that of the 3,311 cases where the NHS was taken to court in 2015/16, the NHS paid compensation in 2,514 of those cases – 75.93 per cent.
Our Managing Director, Mehmooda Duke, is on the Executive Board of SCIL.