One quarter of the National Health Service's annual budget could end up being spent on settling clinical negligence cases, new figures suggest. The NHS is faced with lb25.7 bn of payments to patients and families as compensation for harm caused by medical errors.
The total has risen by lb3.1 bn in a year, the UK's Department of Health has revealed, and it wipes out the additional lb2 bn funding that Chancellor George Osborne has committed to the service in the recent mini-budget, or Autumn Statement.
Health Minister Earl Howe says the rise in negligence cases has been caused by rising patient numbers and complexity of care. It has also been fuelled by the introduction of 'no win, no fees' arrangements, and the ending of legal aid.
The UK government is spending around lb106 bn a year on the NHS.
(Source: Daily Telegraph, December 5, 2014)