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14.07.15

Clinical blunders cost the NHS more than £4.5bn

Medical errors have cost the NHS more than £4.5bn in the past five years, according to an investigation by the Telegraph.

More than £1.1bn has been paid out for mistakes at just 20 trusts nationwide during the same time, with Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust topping the charts at £80m.

The same investigation shows that the legal bill for medical negligence has also quadrupled in the past decade.

The Department of Health plans to impose a cap on the fees lawyers can claim in medical negligence against the NHS after accusations of excessive charging.

Health minister Ben Gummer MP said: “As it stands, the costs of clinical negligence claims can be very high. Much of this is due to some lawyers using patient claims to load grossly excessive costs onto the NHS and charge far more than the patient receives in compensation.”

But Jonathan Wheeler, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, said: “The NHS are their own worst enemy because they won’t recognise when mistakes have been made, driving up legal costs on both sides.”

The full details of the costs will be published by the NHS Litigation Authority later this week.

Top image c. Dominic Lipinski and PA Wire

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