Record clinical negligence bill at region’s mental health trust

Dawn Collins, Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust's interim director of nursing. Picture: NSFT

Dawn Collins, Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust's interim director of nursing. Picture: NSFT - Credit: NSFT

The amount paid out due to medical blunders at the region’s mental health trust has increased five-fold in five years, new figures reveal.

Sandy Brown, director of nursing and clinical quality at the East of England Ambulance Service Trust

Sandy Brown, director of nursing and clinical quality at the East of England Ambulance Service Trust. Picture: EEAST - Credit: Archant

The bill for clinical negligence claims against Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) hit a record £1.4 million in 2016/17, according to information released by the BBC shared data unit.

This was treble the total for the previous year, and a huge increase from 2012/13 when £277,968 was forked out in damages and legal fees.

Payouts are often made years after the incident.

In October last year, NSFT was rated ‘inadequate’ by the health watchdog and dropped into special measures.

Rowan Procter, executive chief nurse at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Rowan Procter, executive chief nurse at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant


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Dawn Collins, the trust’s interim director of nursing, said the increase in 2016/17 did not reflect serious mistakes made or a particularly large pay-out.

She said all of the claims settled in favour of claimants last year related to incidents that largely pre-dated 2014, with only one or two occurring in 2015.

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“We treat every incident of clinical negligence very seriously and as an event that should never happen,” she added. “Each claim is thoroughly investigated and we ensure any learning is identified and necessary changes to clinical practice are implemented.”

The negligence bill for Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust has gone up by more than £2m in a year, reaching £10.2m in 2016/17.

Meanwhile mistakes made at Ipswich Hospital Trust cost £32.6m over the five-year period.

Jan Ingle, head of communications for both trusts, said: “We want to provide safe, compassionate and high quality care to every person that we care for.

“Very sadly but thankfully very rarely when we do get things wrong our priority is to make sure that all cases for clinical negligence are dealt with as swiftly as possible.”

The amount paid by NHS Resolution, which deals with negligence claims for trusts, because of errors at the East of England Ambulance Service has trebled in three years to almost £2.5m.

Sandy Brown, director of clinical quality for the ambulance trust, said the 2016/17 bill related to eight claims across a year when it dealt with more than a million 999 calls.

Clinical blunders at West Suffolk Foundation Trust have cost £19.4m since 2012/13.

Rowan Procter, executive chief nurse, said: “Patient safety and the delivery of high quality care is our top priority and if something does go wrong we fully investigate what has happened and use any lessons learned to improve our services.”

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