Huge cost of hospital's blunders revealed

December 19, 2007
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A Devon hospital has paid out £18 million in medical negligence compensation claims over just four years, the Plymouth Herald reports.

The blunders occurred at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth – with over half of the eight-figure medical negligence sum was lost by the hospital in the 2006/07 period alone.

Figures for the medical negligence were released following an investigation by the newspaper.

The report adds that a sizeable proportion of the payouts occurred due to mistakes made in the hospital’s obstetrics division – commonly involving babies suffering brain damaged due to their being accidentally starved of oxygen during birth.

Moreover, the results include a single £6.5 million High Court medical negligence payout to a young boy who suffered injuries in just such a birth accident.

Speaking to the newspaper earlier in the year, midwives at Derriford had said that there was low morale among obstetrics workers due to short-staffing and overwork.

A spokesperson for the hospital’s NHS Trust commented: “We do everything we can to prevent incidents which could result in harm to patients – we are a large organisation delivering more than 4,000 babies every year.

“For most families, all goes well. If there is a problem and we have not done everything we could to prevent that, clearly it is right and proper that the family are compensated.”

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