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Figures revealed that more than £1billion was paid out by the NHS in compensation to patients
There were 2,445 clinical negligence claims for failed or delayed treatment in 2015 to 2016, with £557million awarded in compensation – enough money to train 16,000 nurses.
Of that £424million was claimed by patients whose diagnoses were delayed, says the NHS Litigation Authority.
The figures come amid record waiting times at hospitals, with just 86.2 per cent of A&E patients seen within four hours last year, well below the 95 per cent target.
More than 2,500 patients waited longer than 12 hours to be treated in 2016, double the number of the year before, while the two-month cancer treatment target was missed for the entire year.
Nearly £2.8billion was claimed in compensation in the year ending March 2016, a four-fold increase in a decade.
In 2006-7, the NHS received 5,419 claims worth £667million but the number of claims shot up to nearly 11,000 last year.
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There were 2,445 clinical negligence claims for failed or delayed treatment in 2015 to 2016
This year’s budget for the health service in England is £120billion.
They are incredible sums, and particularly highlight the multiple failures in maternity care
More than 800 patients claimed £122.6million in compensation for inappropriate treatment, while £47.6million was paid out for inadequate care.
Patients left with a “foreign body” inside them accounted for 169 claims worth £6.3million while 30 claimed £1.7million for a “retained instrument post operation”.
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The NHS Litigation Authority said £424million was claimed by patients whose diagnoses were delayed Shocking charts show the NHS could be in crisis Thu, February 9, 2017
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Fifty five patients had the wrong part of their body operated on, claiming £3.7million in compensation, while a further 22 claimed £1.6million for having the wrong area injected.
There were 41 claims for assault by hospital staff, accounting for £2.6million, while 14 patients claimed £966,000 sexual abuse.
Pregnant women accounted for more than 300 claims, with 98 who accused midwives of failing to properly monitor their labour, claiming £253million compensation.
And 25 mothers claimed £84.5million for birth defects.
The figures were released in response to a parliamentary question asked by Lord Freyberg about whether any analysis had been undertaken over the last five years to match the claims to particular diseases.
Lord O’Shaughnessy at the Department of Health, admitted no such research had been carried out.
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Just 86.2 per cent of A&E patients were seen within four hours last year
Lord Freyberg, who has campaigned for funding for researching less common diseases after his sister Annabel, former arts editor of London’s Evening Standard, died of mesothelioma, a cancer that surrounds the lungs, in 2013, said: “They are incredible sums, and particularly highlight the multiple failures in maternity care.
"What is more extraordinary is that no analysis has been undertaken of which diseases and conditions drive claims. This is a first step to working out how better clinical practice could reduce these liabilities and reduce harm to patients and prevent another “Morecambe Bay”."
University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust had to apologise to the families of 11 babies and one mother who died in their care, in 2015.
Lord Freyberg added: “Indemnity adds £700 to the cost of every delivery, and maternity accounts for 34 per cent of NHS litigation costs overall. And yet there is huge variation in clinical practice in maternity services across the country.”
Last month, the NHS announced plans to stop law firms touting for business in hospitals after the Litigation Authority warned that compensation claims threatened to spiral to £50billion, citing the fact that legal costs have risen by 43 per cent.
Personal injury lawyers will be banned from wards from later this year following changes to the NHS Standard Contract.
Dr Pallavi Bradshaw of the Medical Protection Society (MPS), said legal costs accounted for 34 per cent of last year’s compensation payments.
“It is right that steps are taken to control these costs, and a recent MPS survey showed the public agrees, with 70 per cent saying it is inappropriate for law firms to advertise for clinical negligence cases in healthcare settings.”