Ipswich: Hospital’s �5.9m bill for negligence

CLINICAL negligence claims at Ipswich Hospital have cost nearly �6million, it can be revealed.

According to figures from the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA), claims made by patients or their families led to a �5,962,979 clinical negligence compensation bill between 2011 and 2012.

The payouts, which represent compensation costs and do not include legal fees, are almost double the �2,938,174 bill from the previous year and dwarf costs of �3,048,525, paid out between 2009 and 2010.

Of the claims received by the NHSLA in the past three years, which have resulted in separate compensation payouts, incidents have occurred in areas including anaesthesia, obstetrics, oncology and paediatrics.

Health campaigner Prue Rush said the figures were disappointing and added that it was a “frightening amount of money to pay out when our health services are so cash-strapped”.

“These are just very sad statistics – and the fact that much money is going from the hospital coffers to put right mistakes,” she said.

“I know quite often they pay out without admitting liability but it doesn’t look good for the hospital and it would be very worrying for the public to think that much could be paid out because so many things have gone wrong.”

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Ipswich Hospital was given a level two in its most recent NHSLA assessment, meaning it is doing more to protect patients from harm by making improvements in governance, competent and capable workforce, safe environment, clinical care and by learning from experience.

An Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman said: “Claims are not settled in the year the incident is reported so these financial figures do not relate to the number or types of incident in the stated years. In fact, some claims date back several years.

“The NHSL handles clinical negligence claims on behalf of NHS Trusts.

“After our last assessment our Trust was awarded Level Two status which means we have shown we have risk management practices in place to be less at risk of incidents leading to claims, despite the national picture being that the number of claims is going up.

“As the NHSLA pays out to the claimants, the figures shown are not part of our finance position for those years.”

A spokesman for NHSLA, which also works to improve risk management practices, said: “A claim will usually be brought some time after the incident has occurred, often several years later, so the reasons for the claims will only provide historical information and will not reflect the situation in the trust at the time of the claim.”

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