£13 million compensation paid out by Oxford Hospital Trust in 2010

Oxfordshire hospitals cost the NHS more in medical negligence compensation last year than any other area of England.

A total of £13 million was awarded to patients who had suffered negligence at a hospital managed by the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust. Legal and medical negligence solicitors’ costs cost the Trust a further £2.3 million.

£13 million is the highest amount ever paid out since the clinical negligence system began in 2003. No data is available to say how many personal injury claims this money covered.

Dr Peter Skolar, the Oxfordshire watchdog chief, said this was an enormous sum of money that the NHS should be spending on treating patients. The ex-GP blamed the personal injury compensation culture that is currently rife in the UK for the huge rise in compensation awards. Skolar agreed that patients who had suffered clinical negligence were entitled to compensation but said we are taking it too far.

Personal injury solicitors, on the other hand, claim that the higher payouts are a result of the rising cost of patient care. Common payouts include sums for children who developed cerebral palsy as a result of negligence during birth.

One solicitor explained that the majority of cases were avoidable but more money was needed so that hospitals could take on more doctors and nurses. He also pointed out that the no win no fee system has led to an increase in the number of claims.

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