Byline: Lynn Davidson
THE soaring cost of negligence claims against the NHS has forced the Health Secretary to create a [pounds sterling]185million emergency bailout fund.
Hospital negligence claims have trebled in the past ten years, leaving the fund almost empty.
Now Andrew Lansley has had to step in to give the NHS Litigation Authority, which funds compensation claims and legal fees, access to [pounds sterling]185million until April.
A surge in cases brought by no-win, no-fee lawyers, and a rise in the survival rates of brain-damaged babies who then need lifelong care, have both contributed to the increase in costs.
Annual payouts have rocketed from [pounds sterling]277million in 2000-01 to nearly [pounds sterling]1billion in 2010-11.
The maximum amount of compensation which could possibly be paid out if the Government lost all the cases brought rose to [pounds sterling]16.85billion last March, from [pounds sterling]5.31billion in 2001.
During the past five years, clinical negligence claims have risen from 5,697 to 8,655 per year. …