Wrong diagnosis costs NHS £583m in compensation

NHS Resolution figures have revealed that NHS hospitals have paid £583 million in compensation to patients in the past three years after doctors failed to diagnose correctly.

The NHS organisation, which handles claims of medical negligence against hospitals, says that there were 4,097 payouts due to failure or a delay in a vital diagnosis.

The NHS said it carried out 33 million diagnostic tests in the three years, meaning incidents like this are extremely rare.

Peter Walsh, chief executive of Action against Medical Accidents, said: “The causes of misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis are many and varied but it is clear that shortages of appropriate staff and also the need to update and make better use of technology to aid diagnosis would help enormously. Many GP practices do not make use of available software for example and many scanners need updating in hospitals. These are some of the reasons why the UK lags behind many other developed countries in diagnosisng and treating cancer successfully for instance. Major investment in staff and technology is needed.”

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