The cost of growing negligence claims

Negligence Claims

Medical Negligence Claims

The cost of medical negligence claims has risen significantly in recent years. According to a report published in The Telegraph, NHS is currently facing £15.7 billion in negligence claims, roughly one seventh of their entire budget and a 10% increase from last year. The figure is a compilation of the values of the cases NHS believes it cannot defend, and also includes the cost of cases that have not been filed yet. Therefore, this estimate could be slightly on the low side, particularly if more patients than expected choose to file and receive compensation.

Data from the past few years indicated that this upward trend of medical negligence claims is not new. In 2011, over 8500 claims were filed against NHS, a 30% increase from 2010. A spokesperson from the Medical Defense Union, a mutual organization that provides legal defense for medical personnel, noted that increase in claims has been the sharpest that the company has seen throughout its history.

Needless to say, this is a major increase and represents a heightened cost to taxpayers.

What is the reason for the increase?

Many of these claims come from cases in which an infant was left with brain damage due to errors during labor and delivery. Advances in medical science can keep the infant alive long afterwards, but these treatments are also some of the most expensive and are therefore covered by hefty settlements.

However, the dramatic increase in claims is not necessarily related to a decline in quality of service. According to the Medical Defense Union, the increase is related more to the prevalence of a different type of claim. Many claims that the MDU saw in 2011, for example, were for incidences that occurred in the previous years. This seems to suggest a change in the reason why a patient would submit a claim.

While it’s impossible to know exactly why an individual would file a medical negligence claim, it may be related to the type of legal help available to patients nowadays. Many medical negligence solicitors now offer a ‘no win, no fee’ policy, which makes seeking legal aid more accessible. To compensate, solicitors will charge higher fees to cover the cost of lost cases, thereby increasing the general cost of negligence claims, to the point where a third of the cost of successful claims end up going to lawyers.

Therefore, it is clear that a culture of more accessible compensation is emerging, making the process of filing a claim more attractive for the average patient.

What is the impact?

In order to manage rising costs, the MDU is suggesting that the government directly address the cost of individual settlements, some of which can cost upwards of £5 million. At this point, according to the MDU, the cost of these claims is rising at a rate that outpaces wage and general inflation. If costs continue to increase at this rate, the overall cost of healthcare in the UK will increase significantly.

What Should Military Personnel Affected By Medical Negligence Do?

military compensation

Military Personal

Sadly, during military combat injuries are to be expected. Members of the armed forces know this and receive thorough training to keep colleagues and themselves as safe and out of danger as possible. However, when wounds and illnesses do occur during military operations it is imperative that military medical staff work with timely efficiency to provide the sick and injured with appropriate medical attention. When incidents of medical negligence do happen they can have life changing implications.

If you were injured or fell ill and did not receive the correct medical treatment you required you can claim for military compensation against the hospital where the negligence took place or the Ministry of Defence (MoD) if the negligence was committed by military medical staff. A wrong diagnosis can often lead to the wrong medication or treatment being used, which can have harmful short and long term effects. However, a significant number of incidents of military medical negligence and malpractice occur in the surgery theatre.

Examples of illnesses and injuries caused by military medical negligence include:

•    Coma
•    Limb amputation
•    Paralysis
•    Severe infection
•    Non-traumatic brain injury

If you have sustained an injury, illness or condition because of military medical malpractice or military professional negligence you should contact a UK military lawyer at the specialist firm Bolt Burdon Kemp, who have the expertise to successfully make your compensation claim against the MoD or hospital that is at fault. No win no fee lawyers will discuss your case before devising a strategy to make the claim for compensation.

The illnesses, conditions or injuries that commonly result from military medical negligence and malpractice can permanently disrupt the life and career of the affected person. Counseling, physiotherapy, medical treatment and care may be necessary in the aftermath of the incident for days, months, years or even an entire life time. This will impact upon the life of the claimant and their family. Compensation can help support the injured party to get their life and career back on track.

If you have suffered due to military medical negligence or malpractice contact Bolt Burdon Kemp to discuss how to proceed with claiming the compensation rightfully owed to you.

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.