An increasing number of NHS employees claim to have suffered a personal injury at work, according to a recent news article in one of the national newspapers.
Over the last five years, the number of staff claiming personal injury compensation for incidents they blame on Health Service has increased by nearly a third. In 2011, NHS employees made more than 3,200 personal injury claims. In one instance, a staff member was awarded £6,500 after getting a bruise!
Personal injury solicitors might be surprised to learn that 9,042 NHS employees have received a share of £91.8 million in compensation over the last five years.
Concerns have now been raised that NHS staff are encouraged by no win no fee solicitors to file claims even if their injury was caused by clumsiness or just pure bad luck.
Stephen Barclay, a Tory MP, said he was surprised that some compensation awards were being made for what appeared to be minor injuries and he called for clarification that these payments provided taxpayers with value for money.
Matthew Elliott from the Taxpayers’ Alliance thinks the money would be better spent on providing frontline care for patients. Whilst he agreed that accidents at work do happen, bosses in the NHS have to control the payouts through proper management of facilities and rejecting frivolous claims.
The NHS is already under tight financial constraints and has been told to make efficiency savings totalling £20 billion over the coming few years. In order to meet their targets some trusts have cut frontline staff and rationed treatments.
In addition to compensation payouts for staff, the NHS pays out around £15.7 billion every year in medical negligence compensation.