Over the last few years there has been a significant increase in the number of clinical negligence compensation claims made against the NHS.
Amongst the most common medical negligence claims are those relating to cerebral palsy caused by inadequate treatment during childbirth.
There are two recent examples of very high compensation payouts awarded due to sub standard maternity care. One 13 year old girl in Oxfordshire, who couldn’t be named, has recently been awarded just over £4 million in a lump sum along with substantial annual payments to cover the cost of her care. Another girl, Milly Evans from Lincoln, has also recently been awarded over £10.4 million. This payout is thought to be the largest ever payout for a cerebral palsy related claim.
These two cases underline the annual cost of medical negligence claims for the UK taxpayer. Though these are some of the most severe cases in recent years, they are just the tip of the iceberg.
The annual bill for the UK taxpayer for medical negligence claims has risen by 9% in the last year. That amounts to a total liability of over £15 billion. However you look at it, the cost of these claims is putting an incredible strain on NHS finances.
The NHS does an almost impossible task. With very limited resources, medical professionals in the UK deliver outstanding medical care to a rapidly increasing population. With the rising population numbers and the unhealthy lifestyles that many UK citizens lead, they are clearly working against the odds. Unfortunately this does mean that mistakes will occasionally occur.
Clearly, money would be far better spent improving the level of care that the NHS can provide rather than paying out for its mistakes. The problem is; how do you do it?
The main reason for people making medical negligence claims is the claim that the NHS complaints procedure is inadequate. Many people, once they have gone through the compete complaints procedure, feel that their concerns have not been fully addressed. Understandably this leaves them with no option but to make a clinical negligence claim.
Perhaps this is where the NHS should be focusing their attention? It may end up being money very well spent.