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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
Clinical negligence costs
NHS spend

NHS Resolution has estimated that nearly £71billion will be needed for future Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts (CNST) costs, relating to claims arising from incidents that have already occurred.

The NHS spent £2.2billion during 2017/18, a figure that is expected to rise to £3.2 billion in 2020-21. This is up from £1.7billion in 2016/17 and it is concerning to see a 30% increase in spend over the course of one year.

The amount paid out on clinical negligence claims in 2017/18 equates to the cost of training over 9,800 new doctors.

Since 2010/11 NHS spend on clinical negligence has on average increased by 14.5% every year.

From the £2.2bn the NHS paid out on clinical negligence costs in 2017/18, legal costs accounted for 27% of that bill.

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.

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