Health authorities north of the Border last year paid a record £8million to legal firms
Health authorities north of the Border last year paid a record £8million to legal firms, according to figures obtained under Freedom of Information.
And in some cases, the fee paid to legal figures raising actions for medical negligence were greater than the sum in damages paid to the patients they represented.
The revelations come at the start of a financial year that will see health chiefs try to cut more than £330million from budgets.
The UK Government has pledged to crack down on the “excessive costs” charged by some solicitors following a number of high profile actions raises in courts in England and Wales.
It is a damning indictment of the SNP’s mismanagement that public money is being spent not just on compensating patients, but paying costly legal fees as well
Anas Sarwar – Scottish Labour health spokesman
However, despite the moves by Westminster, the Scottish Government said it was a matter for health boards.
Meanwhile, critics have demanded fewer mistakes at hospitals to protect resources for frontline services from the no-win, no-fee lawyers.
In the past five years, more than £30million has been paid to legal firms. They show one lawyer received up to £500,000 for a maternity case in the Lothians in which the patient received up to £1.25million.
This year health chiefs will try to cut more than £330million from budgets Shocking charts show the NHS could be in crisis Thu, February 9, 2017
Do these charts prove the NHS is in trouble?
Getty Images 1 of 9
In Orkney a patient received £5,000, but the lawyer walked away with at least £14,000.
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
In 2013-14, patients in NHS Highland received £97,862, while their legal representatives got £280,916. More than £150million in compensation has been paid to patients following NHS blunders over the past five years.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde paid £10.1million to lawyers over the period, with NHS Lothian paying £5.5million, and NHS Lanarkshire £4.7million.
One lawyer received up to £500,000 for a maternity case in the Lothians
Scottish Labour health spokesman Anas Sarwar said: “These figures clearly point to our NHS being under greater strain than ever.
"It is a damning indictment of the SNP’s mismanagement that public money is being spent not just on compensating patients, but paying costly legal fees as well.”
Tracey Gillies, medical director at NHS Lothian, which paid £500,000 to a lawyer in one case, said: “In all cases where medical treatment does not meet our high standards, we carry out a review to ensure lessons are learned.”