In a recent report on clinical negligence costs prepared by the Public Accounts Committee, health bosses from NHS Trusts are described as having a ‘prevailing attitude of defensiveness’, which has led to a significant increase in clinical negligence claims. The costs of these claims have quadrupled from £400m in 2006/07 to £1.6bn in 2016/17.
The Public Accounts Committee is responsible for scrutinising the use of public spending and ensures the Government and its civil servants are held accountable for the level of public services provided in England.
In the report, the Committee encourages the Government to address the issues which cause negligence, stating that it is the NHS trusts which add costs to the claims through under-investment and the reluctance to admit mistakes.
The Committee said that these claims are seen to be ‘spiralling out of control’, possibly due to increasing financial pressures on front-line staff and longer patient waiting times. Meg Hillier, the Committee Chair, advises that these issues need urgent action.
On average, cases can take up to 426 days to resolve, an increase from 300 days in 2010/11. MPs say that this is attributable to the NHS’s failure to investigate or report harmful events to NHS Resolution; the organisation that deals with clinical disputes against the NHS.
The Committee has demanded clarification on the delay in resolving matters, and have asked that the Ministry of Justice and NHS Resolution report back by 2018.
Moosa-Duke Solicitors hopes that the Committee’s report will lead to a change in the way that clinical negligence matters are dealt with by the NHS and will be effective in reducing the time taken to resolve claims.
Moosa-Duke Solicitors are specialists in all aspects of clinical negligence matters and have specialist experience of dealing with claims involving negligence in both NHS and private services.
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