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Rising Cost Of NHS Negligence

Posted on Thursday 3rd October 2013 by David Simpson

The human cost of medical negligence cannot be underestimated. Lives and careers ruined; the wider impact on the immediate family.David Simpson - Partner, Coles Miller

Mistakes by NHS surgeons, doctors and other healthcare professionals are mercifully rare. But when they do occur they can wreak untold misery.

Recently the media reported that the NHS Litigation Authority had set aside £1.2 billion to pay solicitors for medical negligence who pursue compensation.

The £1.2 billion is just under a fifth of the £5.8 billion provision for unresolved clinical compensation claims against the NHS.

Clinical negligence claims against the NHS are at a record high. There were 10,129 in the year 2012/13. That compares with 6,088 in 2008-09.

Why the increase? At Coles Miller we believe it is due to several factors, notably rising pressure on NHS staff and increasing publicity about the issue.

Britain’s population is increasing by a million every year. Numbers of older patients are rising as demographics change. These two factors alone are making life harder for frontline healthcare professionals.

And people under pressure make mistakes. More stress inevitably means more errors.

Claiming for medical negligence may involve large sums in compensation but those amounts are significant for a number of reasons:

  • The compensation has to fund costly and specialist care and equipment for victims for what could be decades, along with potentially significant damages for lost earnings
  • Pursuing a clinical negligence claim can be highly labour-intensive, involving complex medical evidence, the need for expert witnesses and an experienced legal team
  • Healthcare deliverers and their insurers usually contest potentially large claims instead of admitting their errors, meaning that cases run for longer and cost more.

Making a claim against the NHS requires specialist help. You need experts in your corner. Solicitors with a proven track record of success in getting justice for victims.

If you have been the victim of a clinical error but are anxious about taking on the NHS, contact Coles Miller for reassuring, professional legal advice.

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