NHS negligence claims bill at £25 billion

The Times reports that the NHS has seen a rise in negligence claims, which has resulted in outstanding liabilities of £25.6 billion, an increase of 13% in a year. The increase has largely been attributed to more people making claims and increased payouts, driven in part by changes that make it easier to bring claims and the rising cost of care. The NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA), the body responsible for the indemnity scheme estimates that, to settle future negligence claims for 2013-2014 the NHS will need £25.6 billion, as opposed to £22.7 in 2012-2013.

It is noted that compensation costs are calculated on the basis that necessary medical treatment as a result of an error will be provided by the private sector. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has argued that improving safety can lead to significant cost reductions by bringing down the negligence bill.