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May 2018 (Vol. 3 Issue 3)

Pay-outs for medical blunders now 60% of annual NHS budget
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Pay-outs for medical blunders now 60% of annual NHS budget image

Pay-outs for medical blunders have reached such a peak that they represent around 60 per cent of the UK's annual spend on healthcare. If the full £65bn compensation is paid to the families, the National Health Service (NHS) could be bankrupted, doctor groups have warned.

Negligence and malpractice claims have risen alarmingly in the past few years: in 2014, the total liability stood at £29bn, and so it has more than doubled in a couple of years.

But if the payments are made to the victims or their survivors, the NHS could face bankruptcy, a group that includes the British Medical Association and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has warned the government.

The NHS costs UK taxpayers around £105bn a year, and the compensation payments for medical errors would drain it to such an extent that even basic services and support would not be possible. Although the letter-writers accept that "there must be reasonable compensation for patients harmed through clinical negligence", they say that these levels of pay-outs are "unsustainable".

They blame the escalation of payments partly on a new way that they are calculated; in one case, a girl who was left with cerebral palsy after errors during her delivery received a pay-out of £9.3m when earlier calculations had put the sum at £3.8m.

Patient groups are concerned that the rising payments could result in cases being 'brushed under the carpet,' or creating a wall of silence and denial in hospitals.


References

(Source: Daily Telegraph, February 1, 2018)

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