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Within the last 12 months, there has been a record breaking £1.7 billion paid out to claimants who suffered medical negligence at the hands of NHS staff.
The figure for NHS negligence claims has almost doubled in the past decade and it shows no sign of decreasing anytime soon, with the Medical Protection Society (MPS) saying they believe the total will rise to £2.6 billion within the next 5 years, which could threaten the very existence of the NHS.
A key issue behind the rise of the increased payouts is the errors made at childbirth by medical staff.
The most costly claims both in human terms and monetary terms are those that involve babies that suffer injuries at birth with cases often linked with a failure to monitor babies’ heart rates and identify risks of oxygen starvation. Many of these cases end with the child suffering irreversible brain damage, which leads to payouts that must cover the cost of care for life.
Chief Executive of the charity Action Against Medical Accidents said: “The human cost of these perfectly avoidable errors is far greater than the financial cost.”
“Most of these costs would be avoided if the NHS investigated incidents better, recognised when they were at fault and settled claims earlier.”
However, the MPS, who support over 300,000 healthcare professionals worldwide, have proposed changes to try and decrease the total payouts by the NHS for medical negligence.
They suggest a cap on future care costs, the value of which would be decided by a group of working experts. They also propose using national average weekly earnings to avoid unfair payouts to higher earners who make a similar claim to someone on a lower wage.
If you have been unfortunate enough to have experienced obstetric negligence in hospital or feel that your treatment was substandard, then contact us at Thorneycroft Solicitors today for a free no-obligation assessment of your case on 0800 1979 345 or complete our online enquiry form.
Our medical negligence solicitors are dedicated to maximising the compensation for medical negligence available on a no win – no fee basis.