Huge clinical negligence legal fees bill for NHS

The BBC has revealed that the NHS in England faces paying out £4.3 billion in legal fees to settle outstanding claims of clinical negligence.

Every year the NHS receives more than 10,000 new claims for compensation, including all current unsettled claims and projected estimates of ones in the future.

Estimates published last year put the total cost of outstanding compensation claims at £83 billion, with the Association of Personal Injuries Lawyers claiming that the cost is predominantly driven by failures in patient safety.

A spokesperson from the association said that most people have no intention of suing the NHS, but because they often find it difficult to get answers from the medical authorities, they feel they are left with no other option but to sue.

The Department of Health and Social Care has pledged to tackle ‘the unsustainable rise in the cost of clinical negligence’, but has maintained that there has been no decline in patient safety.

NHS Resolution, which oversees clinical negligence claims for the NHS in England, says that more than 70 per cent of the claims brought against the NHS are resolved without going to court, but has stressed the need for greater transparency by healthcare providers when things go wrong.

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