Facing a rising tide of personal injury compensation claims from bungled treatments carried out across the region, the NHS now faces an annual bill in excess of £80 million. At least 1,281 reports or claims of clinical negligence were received by the NHS between April of 2009 and March of last year, which indicated a rise of 10 per cent over 12 months.
Ministers have been prompted to draft new regulations by the soaring costs. The new laws will reduce the amount the taxpayer will be responsible for in the event that the NHS loses a medical negligence case.
However fears exist that the new reforms could make it more difficult for injured patients to make personal injury compensation claims and also result in fewer mistakes being uncovered in the long run. Settling claims against NHS trusts in the region in the 2009-2010 financial year cost a minimum of £80.4 million, up nine per cent from 2008-2009 figures of 73.8 million.
In excess of £54 million of that total sum was paid out in compensation awards, while a minimum of £26 million had been spent on court costs incurred by both the NHS Litigation Authority and claimants.
Figures released by the authority revealed that nearly £10 million was disbursed after claims that involved the the Yorkshire and Humber Strategic Health Authority. Damage awards for claims made against NHS trusts in the region amounted to £68.4 million, which was an increase of 17 per cent compared to the previous year.