NHS clinical negligence legal bill ‘reaches £4.3 billion’

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The legal bill for outstanding clinical negligence claims for the NHS in England stands at £4.3 billion, according to a BBC News report.

BBC News obtained the figure through a Freedom of Information request. The £4.3 billion sum includes all current unsettled claims and projected estimates of ones in the future.

NHS Resolution reported last year that its provision for claims indemnified stood at £83.4 billion as of 31 March 2019.

The number of new clinical negligence claims received reached 10,678, an increase of five claims over the previous year.

Among the steps being taken to reduce the clinical negligence burden on the NHS is the notification scheme for brain injuries at birth, which has resulted in early admissions of liability being given to 24 families within 18 months of the birth, according to NHS Resolution.

Its progress report on the scheme, which was set up in 2017, made six recommendations to support the clinical issues identified in the research, covering topics such as how families are treated when things go wrong, to monitoring in labour, and awareness of risk factors of brain injury at birth.

From 1 April 2017, all NHS trusts were required to report within 30 days maternity incidents of potentially severe brain injury, so that NHS Resolution could capture data, work to improve patient safety and disseminate outcomes on a national basis.

The progress of another scheme aimed at improving maternity safety, which provides trusts with a strong financial incentive to meet 10 safety actions, will be reported soon.

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Mark Dugdale is the editor of Claims Media. Mark welcomes articles, letters or feedback from readers and can be reached via mark.dugdale@barkerbrooks.co.uk