This is the document that gives detailed audited and accurate information about the cost of claims against the NHS. It is interesting reading and is usually at odds with what is reported in the media. We are all led to believe that the NHS is on its knees as a result of people suing it. Here are the facts:
- £2.4 billion was paid out as a result of medical blunders. This figure includes damages and legal costs of both sides. It is about 1.8% of the annual budget of the NHS, about the same as last year.
- Bullying costs the NHS £2 billion a year.
- Missed appointments cost about £1 billion a year.
- Claimant legal costs have dropped 5.2% between 2017/18 and 2018/19.
- Defendant legal costs have increased 8.3% over the same period.
- Claimant legal costs as a % of all clinical negligence spend is now 19% – down 10 percentage points since 2016/17.
Yes, the cost of suing the NHS is high in terms of the stand-alone figure. Yes, that money could be spent on training new doctors and nurses. Is that a price worth paying? Before you answer that remember the price could be zero if the NHS cut out the mistakes that even doctors say could and should be avoided.
Hilton Armstrong – October 2019