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22.07.16

‘Compensation crisis’ making NHS finance worse

The financial crisis in the NHS is being made worse by an increase in compensation payments, new figures show.

In its annual report, the NHS Litigation Authority said that its provisions for hospital clinical negligence claims have increased from £30.9bn to a record £56.4bn.

Compensation payments from the NHS have also increased by 27% and its legal costs have risen from £1.169m to £1.488m.

Dr Christine Tomkins, chief executive of the Medical Defence Union, said: “The NHSLA’s report should dispel any doubt – there is a compensation crisis and it affects every English taxpayer.

“The report underlines what the MDU has been saying for some time. The NHS is sitting on a time bomb of future claims and legal reform is the only way to address it and to keep money within the NHS for treatment of patients.”

She said the increase in payments was not caused by problems with the “very high” NHS clinical standards, but by an “outdated” legal system that calculates compensation based on the cost of private care instead of NHS care.

Dr Tomkins added: “We hope the figures provide a wakeup call for the government to take the only sensible option and overhaul personal injury law. The NHS is haemorrhaging money on claims which it should be able to retain so that all patients benefit.”

A recent report from the Health Select Committee warned that the NHS is not on track to deliver the £22bn efficiency savings by 2020.

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