QA patients get millions of pounds in negligence claims

Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham

Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham

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​PATIENTS have won millions of pounds in negligence claims after incidents at Queen Alexandra Hospital, figures have shown.

The data from NHS Litigation Authority, which handles claims on behalf of trusts, showed that patients at the Cosham site won damages of £8.8m in 2015/16.

The total cost of the claims, which includes damages, defence costs and claimant costs was £13.1m.

That figure has halved in the last five years with the total claims in 2011/12 costing £25m. In the same year, patients won £20.3m in damages.

The number of negligence claims has increased in the last five years from 74 to 84.

But 2014/15 saw the highest number of claims at the trust of 87. In the same year, patients won £9.2m in damages with the claims costing £12.7m in total.

A Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust spokeswoman, which runs the QA Hospital, said: ‘We view all serious incidents, complaints and claims of clinical negligence as opportunities to learn valuable lessons and to further improve patient safety and care, which is our highest priority.’

In the report accompanying the data, it said that trusts providing complex treatments can expect to receive more claims. It adds: ‘The figures show whether or not a member organisation provides labour ward services, as claims arising from childbirth represent a significant element of expenditure.’

The report revealed across the NHS more than £1.4bn was paid in 2015/16, an increase from £1.1bn in 2014/15.

It said the rise reflects the high numbers of new claims received over recent years which are now being paid although last year new claims fell by four per cent.

A 43 per cent increase in claimant legal costs was another significant factor in the rise, the report added.

NHS Litigation Authority chief executive Helen Vernon said: ‘The key to reducing the growing costs of claims is learning from what goes wrong and supporting changes to prevent harm in the first place.’

She added: ‘We want to reduce the need for expensive litigation. This means increasing the use of mediation in the NHS, early transparency, saying “sorry” and demonstrating that lessons have been learned to prevent the incident happening again.’

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