Figures just revealed by the NHS Litigation Authority have highlighted the rise in NHS spending on negligence claims.
The NHS Litigation Authority estimated just two years ago that it would need £11.9billion to settle compensation claims in the next ten to fifteen years. Now this estimate has risen to £15billion. This figure is representative of money paid out in claims already and money expected to be paid out.
The £15billion will be made up of money set aside by NHS trusts over the years to come, and will cover the costs of medical mistakes and negligence in care by health professionals. The 2010 Annual Report – released in The Daily Telegraph – states that £6.3billion has been earmarked for claims that have already been submitted. Also, £8.7billiion has been estimated to be needed for instances of known errors and negligence where the claim has yet to be submitted.
6,652 claims for negligence were made against the NHS last year, a rise of 11% on previous years. However, the sharp increase in settlement figures is seen to be due to the increase in high value claims, which pay for the costs of victim’s care for the rest of their life. Most of these cases – especially when involving children or babies – run into the millions of pounds.
Despite intentions of the Government to bring costs down, there is no dispute into the validity in paying compensation claims. A spokesperson for The Ministry of Justice said, “No-win no-fee style arrangements have played a role in giving access to justice to a range of people.” Likewise, a spokesperson for The Department of Health said it was “right that they [patients] are compensated” if they fail to get the high level of care they deserve.