Responding to the publication today of NHS Resolution’s annual report and accounts 2017/18, which show the cost of clinical negligence claims increasing by 50 per cent, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents health service organisations across the healthcare sector, said:
“We cannot go on like this with the NHS spending more and more on litigation. The number of new negligence claims has not risen in England but the amount paid in damages has rocketed by 50 per cent in one year to £1.68 billion in 2017/18. That is a staggering total.
“Part of this is down to a foolish change in the way compensation is calculated, which will hopefully be addressed by Parliament, but this still paints a hugely troubling picture.
“It is right and fair that there must be reasonable compensation for patients harmed through clinical negligence and we need to do everything we can to eliminate these mistakes.
“But the justifiable case for compensation has to to be balanced against society’s ability to pay and the fact that we have a free at the point of use health care system.
“Money that is used for this purpose cannot be used for frontline care. At a time when NHS finances are already under enormous strain, this just makes things worse. Unless we deal with this, a sizeable chunk of the new money being promised will be swallowed up by these claims rather than used for much-needed investment to help the mass of patients.”