Maternity Ward Mistakes Cost NHS Over £420 Million

Maternity Ward Mistakes Cost

Clinical Negligence Claims

In what will no doubt amount to more embarrassing controversy for the NHS, the bill for mistakes in maternity wards has nearly doubled within the last 12 months to over £420. Such news follows revelations that the medical negligence bills totals of the Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, and the hospitals of West Suffolk and Ipswich had risen significantly within the past two years. This article will take a deeper look into what is turning into a growing problem for the NHS.

The Figures

Shockingly, figures released by the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) have revealed that a staggering £422.9 million was paid out in the form of legal fees and compensation in the financial year of 2011-12 for obstetric claims. This is in comparison to £234.8 million being paid the previous year.

The Causes behind the Rise

A number of causes have been cited as reasons behind the significant rise in clinical negligence bills for the NHS’s maternity wards. Medical mistakes are amongst those mentioned most. Such mistakes made by NHS staff, include injuries to mothers during labour and babies dying or suffering from brain damage and other disabilities.

However there are other causes that render the NHS to be less blameworthy. For example, the rise in the in ‘no win, no fee’ clinical negligence solicitor has certainly had an impact. With more lawyers offering such services, more of the population can afford to file claims.

Furthermore, the cost of care and treatment needed to support a disabled child over their lifetime has increased. This has in turn increased the amount of compensation paid out to victims of such cases, when caused by medical negligence.

In addition the general amounts of compensation paid out for cases of clinical negligence have independently somewhat increased over the years significantly.

On top of all of this, it ought to be noted that some cases go back years and take a long time to settle. Therefore, the amounts paid in the past year may have been down to a mistake quite some while ago.

Nevertheless, the NHS will want to reduce such hefty fees being paid out every year. This is especially so as figures matter most when it comes to public scrutiny and such rises in medical negligence bills will no doubt heap embarrassment upon our public healthcare institution.

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  1. The problem here is that state-owned public health bureaucracies within the NHS have no incentive to respond to fines.

    If a private sector hospital gets fined, it hurts them financially and they make sure it doesn’t happen again.

    If a NHS Trust gets fined, well: who cares? It’s the taxpayers’ money, not ours?

    Not good enought.

    Comment by Ethan's Money — September 5, 2012 #

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