Clinical Negligence Update – NHS faces £4.3 billion in Legal Fees
A freedom of information request made by the BBC has revealed that the NHS is currently facing a bill of £4.3 billion in legal fees to settle outstanding claims of clinical negligence.
In addition to this, estimates published last year put the total cost of outstanding compensation claims at £83 billion. NHS England’s total budget in 2018-2019 was £129 billion and the annual cost of claims is said to have almost doubled since 2010.
Health leaders have advised that costs are spiralling, unsustainable, and are diverting vast amounts away from frontline care. The Department of Health have maintained that there has been no decline in patient safety however; the Medical Defence Union (MDU) said reform of the system is needed.
MDU chief executive, Dr Christine Tomkin, said: “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.”
It is hoped that any reform would focus on change in the way compensation is calculated, and the establishment of an independent body to assess claims and ensure that fair but proportionate compensation is awarded.
NHS Resolution, which oversees clinical negligence claims for the NHS in England, said it was trying to keep down costs, for instance by promoting mediation as one solution.
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) reported that they are approached on a daily basis by patients who do not intend to sue the NHS but end up being left with no other option when they are unable to get answers from the relevant medical authorities. Many patients just want find out what went wrong, why they have received the injuries and to make sure it doesn’t happen to other patients in the future, urging greater transparency by healthcare providers when things go wrong.
Our Medical Negligence Department has received a high level of enquiries relating to NHS treatment and our specialist clinical negligence solicitors have helped many people recover compensation for claims of this nature. Errors in medical care do happen with sometimes life changing outcomes. Our team pursue these legitimate claims and help the victims with rehabilitation and loss of earnings.
We have lawyers on the Law Society’s Personal Injury Accreditation Scheme and members of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).
If you have suffered as a result of poor medical care, contact our No Win, No Fee clinical negligence solicitors for a free consultation on 01202 525333.