Responding to the publication today of NHS Resolution’s Annual report and accounts 2016/17, which shows the cost of clinical negligence claims increasing by 14%, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents health service organisations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, said:

“We cannot go on like this with the NHS spending more and more on litigation. We now have fewer claims but we are paying more to claimant’s lawyers in legal fees – that went up 19% last year to nearly £500 million.

“What is more the decision by the last Lord Chancellor to change the way compensation claims are calculated is about to make the costs even higher.

“The Office for Budget Responsibility has estimated that this decision alone will cost the public sector an extra £1.2bn a year. According to one report, as a result an NHS trust saw the cost of one claim go from under £4 million to more than £9 million.

“It seems madness that we are now paying out sums greater than almost any other country in the world, when we have a universal, government funded system of healthcare.”