Responding to the NHS Resolution Annual Report, Melanie Rowles, Director of Delivery Service said:
“The cost of claims to the NHS continues to rise with £2.4 billion paid out during 2018/19. The annual cost of clinical negligence for the NHS has risen by over 200% over the past 10 years.
“It is right that there is reasonable compensation for patients harmed following clinical negligence but a balance must be struck against society’s ability to pay. The rising 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. The amount paid out on clinical negligence claims last year would equate to the cost of training over 10,000 new doctors.
“Legal reform is required to strike a balance between compensation that is reasonable, but also affordable. The National Audit Office and Public Accounts Committee had both called on the Government to publish a joint strategy for tackling clinical negligence costs by September 2018, but we are still waiting for the detail.
“Bold reforms are needed that will make legal fees more proportionate, reduce the costs associated with expert reports and also make the system more predictable, fair and transparent.
“It is vital that there are also continued improvements in patient safety as well as an increased understanding of the drivers of claims. The rising cost of clinical negligence will not however be controlled without bold legal reforms.”
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Notes to editor
- National Audit Office report ‘Managing the costs of clinical negligence in trusts’.
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