Grampian NHS reduces value of medical negligence pay-outs

130 patients in the Grampian NHS area have received medical negligence compensation payments totalling £8 million over the past 5 years, according to the Press and Journal newspaper.

The payments have been made after patients sued the health board for medical negligence and other wrong-doings.

In 2008, 29 cases cost the health board a total of £5,084,142 whilst in 2006 and 2007, the sums were £133,500 and £1,318,262 respectively.

Things have started to improve in the last couple of years. At the end of last October, £574,686 had been paid out to 28 claimants and in 2009 £842,191 was paid to 24 people who had made a claim against the board.

The Scottish Government stressed the importance of learning from clinical negligence claims. Whilst the majority of health care in Scotland is first-rate, health boards must learn from instances of negligence and improve their standard of care in the future.

Scotland currently pays out less in medical negligence compensation per head of population than the rest of the UK.

Peter Walsh, the chief executive of Action Against Medical Accidents, said that the figures prove it is still a big problem for Scottish victims of clinical negligence to access justice. If people are not able to pursue a personal injury claim, lessons in prevention will not be learnt and the problem could recur.

Recent changes to the legal aid system could see a reduction in the number of claims for personal injury compensation and this is currently a cause for concern amongst personal injury solicitors.

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