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NHS spends £2.7 BILLION settling medical negligence claims in one year

NHS spends £2.7 BILLION settling medical negligence claims in one year

The NHS spent a staggering £2.7billion settling medical negligence claims for poor care last year – nearly 10 per cent more than the previous 12 months, figures reveal.

Mail online

Failings in maternity care accounted for a major part of the bill at 41 per cent – roughly £1.1billion – up from 38 per cent.

One family, whose baby 'suffered a massive brain injury' during birth, is seeking a seven-figure payout to cover the 24/7 care their child now needs.

Of the 10,062 new claims made last year, 13 per cent were specifically birth-related. The other most common areas were emergency medicine, orthopaedic surgery and general surgery, according to the report from NHS Resolution.

The NHS paid £490.9million to claimant's lawyers last year, with a further £158.8million on their own legal costs. In some cases, the NHS paid almost as much in legal costs as in damages.

Charities and lawyers warned the figures show maternity wards 'still aren't safe'. Dr Kim Thomas, chief executive of the Birth Trauma Association, which supports parents who have experienced traumatic births, said: 'The same mistakes are being made over and over again. There's a culture of cover-up [and] blame and not learning from mistakes. It's unbelievably distressing for families.'

Suzanne White, head of clinical negligence at Leigh Day, which represents thousands of families said: 'Things are steadily getting worse.

'There are midwives saying they are worried about going into work because there aren't enough of them.'

It was revealed last year that more than 200 babies and nine mothers died due to poor care at the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust. And now 1,700 cases of harm are being investigated at Nottingham University NHS Trust.

A spokesperson for NHS Resolution said: 'Our Early Notification Scheme enables an earlier investigation of compensation entitlement than has been possible in the past and for learning to be shared rapidly with the NHS.

'Our Maternity Incentive Scheme draws on expertise to promote the best standards of care so... we can prevent these incidents happening again.'

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