Medical negligence cases on the increase

An increase in the number of cases of medical negligence has resulted in a call for an independent investigation into hospital deaths.

19 English NHS Trusts have been exposed by the Dr Foster Hospital Guide as having worryingly high mortality rates. Additionally, four NHS hospitals have a high number of deaths from complications after routine surgery.

According to the Guide, patients being treated by the Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust were most likely to suffer avoidable death. The Trust had an avoidable death mortality rate of 66% above the average.

A total of 62,800 avoidable adverse medical events were recorded including 30,500 patients who should not have developed blood clots and over 2,000 post-operative haemorrhages.

Meanwhile, insurers are watching warily as the government reviews the way in which disability payments for personal injuries are calculated. Kenneth Clarke intends to think about adjusting the formula to reflect changes in the investment markets. According to Lane Clark and Peacock LLP, this move could lead to large-value claims increasing by over 50%, and this in turn would have a significant impact on consumers’ premiums.

The current formula, known as the Lord Chancellor’s discount rate, which is used to determine compensation for personal injury claims, is pegged at 2.5%. This rate is a key factor in determining the level of personal injury compensation a claimant will be awarded by the courts.

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers welcomes the planned review saying that claimants have been hurt by recent falls in investment yields.

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