How much are medical negligence claims costing the NHS?

As I am sure most of you are aware, the NHS is currently in what can only be called fianancial crisis. From the frequent junior doctor strikes in 2016, causing approximately 1,000,000 appointments and over 100,000 operations to be cancelled, to the NHS software being hacked earlier this year. However, what I didn’t realise is that one of the main drains on NHS funding is the multiple medical negligance claims paid out annually. Whilst reading the Casebook, I discovered that a startling £1.7 billion has been paid out over the last year in compensation. This is £0.2 billion more than more than last year and a staggering 98% more than was paid in 2010. Is this something the NHS can afford? If so where on earth are they finding the money? The £1.7 billion paid throughout 2016 and 2017 could have fiananced the training of approximately 7,300 doctors, staff numbers that the government is in desperate need of! A campaign launched by Medical Protection, titled ‘Clinical Negligence Costs: Striking a Balance’ suggested that a ten year limit should be placed between the date of an adverse incident and when a claim can be made. I personally have difficulty with this. Does a person suffering from medical negligence deserve to wait ten years for a verdict on compensation? It it morally or ethically right to force an individual who has already been neglected by their health care system to not obtain closure for a further decade? Unfortunately I do not have the definate answers to these questions, as both are extremely subjective. However, feel free to comment any opinions or theories as to how the NHS could reduce these costs and please stay tuned for more blog posts.

Aoife

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