Medical Law Experts Call for 'More To Be Done' As NHSR Reveals £100K Per Day Bill For NHS Negligence
Leading medical law experts are calling for ‘more to be done’ to drive down the number of incidents leading to claims against the NHS after a recent report from NHS Resolution revealed that £100,000 is paid out per day in compensation to patients who suffered needlessly.
In the past eight years, the NHS has paid compensation to 810 patients who suffered needless amputations, 340 who were left blind following poor hospital care and 269 who suffered cosmetic injuries following negligent treatment, at a total of £3.2 billion — equating to £100,000 per day.
This is the latest in a series of worrying figures released by the NHS, with a Data on Written Complaints in the NHS 2017–18 report released by NHS Digital revealing that a worrying 572 issues are raised by members of the public against the institution every single day made public earlier this month.
The Data on Written Complaints in the NHS 2017–18 report from NHS digital revealed that a total of 208,626 grievances were received in 2017–18; reflecting an increase of 211 (0.1%) from 208,415 in the previous year.
‘Communication’ accounted for the majority of the criticisms received — 15.2% of the total figure — with complaints relating to the basic patient care provisions of ‘Nutrition and Hydration’, accounting for 11.9%.
Responding to the latest findings medical law experts have today voiced concerns that ‘lessons aren’t being learnt’, with the relatively small but ‘by no means insignificant’ number of complaints on the up.
Ian Cohen, National Head of Clinical Negligence at Simpson Millar Solicitors, said: “The NHS is shelling out a huge amount of money each day in compensation for incidents that should have never occurred including botched operations, unnecessary amputations and life-changing mistakes”.
“On top of which, 572 complaints per day are being received regarding patient care, and values and behaviour of staff”.
“That is an absolutely staggering figure, and whilst this accounts for a very broad range of issues raised, the figures suggest that concerns regarding communication, and basic patient care provision such as hydration and nutrition, account for a huge percentage”.
“All of this raises significant concerns with regards whether lessons are being learnt and, perhaps more importantly, whether Trusts are sharing amongst themselves and learning from each other how they can look to improve things moving forward”.
Cohen went on to say that the ‘onus is firmly on the NHS’ to report on how grievances — resulting in a negligence claim, or not — were handled.
He said: “Claims are brought against the NHS in those cases where an individual’s life has been impacted as a result of negligence, but for the majority of these complaints there is little evidence of follow up”.
“All NHS and non-NHS providers of services to NHS patients are bound by the duty of candour. Whilst we see some very good examples of Trusts being honest and open, some are poor and failing to be transparent when dealing with complaints and adverse incidents and never events”.
“With the figure on the rise, the question has to be whether enough is being done to learn from common mistakes and never events to drive down their reoccurrence”.
“The complaints process should be examined and investigated to ensure due transparency and diligence and that 570 people are not making complaints that fall on deaf ears day after day”.