NHS sets aside a quarter of its annual health budget to cover medical negligence claims

Today, Lee Silk looks at the NHS Litigation Authority and medical negligence claims.

The (NHS) has allocated almost a quarter of the annual health budget to cover legal claims against NHS hospitals involving medical negligence.

It has been reported that the NHS Litigation Authority, which is responsible for handling negligence claims made against NHS bodies, has set aside £26.1 of its annual budget (£113 billion budget) to cover liabilities.

Recent figures from the Litigation Authority revealed that 11,945 claims were issued against the NHS over 2013-2014, compared with 6,562 in 2009-10.

The large allocation of funds comes as claims against the NHS have doubled under Prime Minister David Cameron. The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is expected to unveil plans to fine hospitals which are dishonest about their failures. These fines could be up to £100,000.

Mr Hunt described the large rate of deaths as “the biggest scandal in global healthcare,” calling for sweeping reforms. He went on to state “Being open and learning from mistakes is crucial in improving patient care. The NHS is a world class health service, but when mistakes happen it is vital that we face them head on and learn so they are never repeated.”

NHS staff have been working under increasing workload amid the government’s cuts to the health service. Under Prime Minister Cameron, the NHS has suffered the longest period of funding restraint in its history, resulting in the layoff of over 7,000 NHS clinical staff members, including doctors and nurses.