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Clinical negligence costs: striking a balance

The cost of clinical negligence claims is becoming unsustainable. MPS is leading a campaign to strike a balance between reasonable and affordable compensation.

Through our Clinical Negligence costs: Striking a Balance campaign – we are proposing a package of nine legal reforms to control the spiralling costs and help to strike a balance between compensation that is reasonable, but also affordable for the NHS and society.

You can find out more about the reforms we are proposing in our campaign briefing

Or you can read our full policy report: Clinical Negligence Costs: Who pays the Price?

The background

NHS Resolution has estimated that £65billion will be needed for future clinical negligence costs, relating to claims arising from incidents that have already occurred.

In 2016/17, £1.7billion was spent on clinical negligence and put into context, this equates to the cost of training over 7,300 new doctors. The NHS’s spend on clinical negligence has almost doubled since 2010/11  – this presents an average 12% increase every year.

It is important that there is reasonable compensation for patients who are harmed due to clinical negligence, but this must be balanced against society’s ability to pay. If this trend continues the balance will tip too far, and the cost will become unsustainable for the NHS and society.

The spiralling cost of clinical negligence means money is being diverted away from front line care at a time when the NHS is facing increasing financial pressure. But we know it is also affecting healthcare professionals. When the cost of clinical negligence increases, professional protection membership subscriptions must also increase to reflect this, and this places significant pressure on our members. 88% of our members also tell us they are increasingly fearful of being sued.

There is support from both the public (73%) and healthcare professionals (86 %) for changes to the current legal system that could reduce the cost of clinical negligence to the NHS.

Can I get involved?

Yes - your voice counts. There are a number of ways to get involved - from engaging your local MP (we've created a draft letter / email you can use) through to sharing infographics and joining the debate on social media.

We’ve created a toolkit to give you some ideas and make it as simple as possible for you to support the Striking a Balance campaign.