NHS Pays Out Billions for Blunders: The Truth Behind The Lie

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A Sunday Telegraph investigation reveals that NHS Trusts have paid out more than £4.5bn in the past 5 years for medical mistakes. About a quarter was paid to law firms to cover legal costs (£1.125bn). If we divide that figure by 5 years then the average pay out per year for legal costs is £225m (probably more). In fact we can now say with confidence that the NHS has cost the taxpayer a staggering £1.125bn fighting valid claims by victims which should have been settled!

The legal bill for medical blunders has quadrupled in the past decade, the investigation shows. On Friday, the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) will publish its latest accounts, which are expected to show that for medical negligence claims received up to £10,000 in compensation, the lawyers were paid almost three times as much in costs.

The Observer notes that Ben Gummer, the health minister, is pushing through changes to limit pay outs, such as setting a fixed charge for claims up to £100,000. The truth is that any suggestion that victims costs have increased because of "greedy" lawyers is a myth, largely created by a Government hell bent on stopping victims of medical blunders from making claims and obtaining justice for themselves and their families. Recent reports have been nothing short of an insult to victims of medical negligence, often suffering devastating and life threatening injuries, and the lawyers who have fought for justice on their behalf. This is David and Goliath, make no mistake.

The truth behind the Governments agenda is obvious.

We only have to look behind the smoke screen. Since a victim of a medical blunder will only recover costs if they win their case the question must be asked why are costs so high?

The answer is simple.

The NHS and its lawyers have been fighting meritorious claims made by victims and their families, often over a number of years, which should have been settled. We only have to look at the fact that it recently emerged that the NHS wasted a staggering £250M in litigation costs last year fighting victims of medical blunders . Those victims will only have been paid these costs on winning their claim which means the Governments spotlight should be falling on the NHS and its lawyers who fought these cases, often up to a fully contested court trial, which will have caused the victim and their families untold stress and worry, and then been ordered by the court to pay the victim damages and costs.

This revelation calls into serious doubt the Government's agenda behind proposed savings on clinical negligence claims such as placing a cap on the litigation costs of victims who are forced to sue when the NHS and its Lawyers unreasonably refuse to settle. If the NHS and its Lawyers had adopted a more reasonable approach to meritorious claims brought by victims of medical blunders instead of fighting cases which should have been settled, the taxpayer will have been saved millions of pounds.

The Governments latest proposals, if implemented, will quite simply put access to justice beyond reach for thousands of victims of medical blunders in the UK.

This is the Governments true agenda, THIS IS THE LIE.


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