Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Costly Mistakes; NORTH EAST HOSPITALS PAID OUT OVER PS1.25M

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Costly Mistakes; NORTH EAST HOSPITALS PAID OUT OVER PS1.25M

Article excerpt

Byline: SEAN SEDDON Reporter sean.seddon@trinitymirror.com @seddonnews

TWO North East hospital trusts have paid out more than PS1.25m in the past five years for medical negligence claims dating back more than two decades.

New figures have revealed the growing pressure historical cases are putting on the health service, particularly ones stemming from maternity cases.

With fears growing that the amount being paid out could be getting out of control, some experts are warning that not enough improvements are being made to ensure claims fall in the future.

Nationally, payouts to patients for all claims totalled PS1.6bn for the last financial year, prompting the government to propose new actions to tackle the rising costs.

Pre-1995 claims, which may have been expected to fall, are causing particular concern, rocketing by 13% last year and costing the health service PS130.8m since 2012, according to figures obtained by Freedom of Information requests.

Locally, City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust paid out PS1,050,775 for pre-1995 claims between 2012 and 2017, while Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust paid out PS230,890.96 during the same period.

According to NHS Resolution, the body which oversees negligence claims, maternity issues make up '10% of the number of claims we receive each year but 50% of the expected cost of the claims' and account for 71% of all pre-1995 claims.

Payments are still being made for these cases because legal battles can take several years and new claims are still being received by people who are only just learning they are entitled to compensation.

In addition, in cases arising from childbirth involving brain damage and cerebral palsy, it is sometimes only possible to make a full assessment of their lifelong needs when they are older.

Commenting on the payout by the Sunderland NHS trust, the highest in the region, Paul McAndrew, deputy medical director, said: "As a trust we treat thousands of people every year, from minor injuries to highly complex medical issues. …

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