Nearly 20% Increase in Medical Negligence Claims in the Last YearJune 5, 2013
Following a string of reports highlighting recent NHS scandals, the Department for Work and Pensions have released statistics showing that there has been an increase of nearly 20% in the number of medical negligence claims in the last year. Since 2008, the number of cases has increased by 80%.
In 2012/13, 16,006 claims were brought against the NHS by either patients themselves or by others on behalf of the estates of those who were had been injured and were deceased. In the last year, more than £1 billion was paid in compensation to those who had been injured as a result of negligence within the NHS.
Margaret Hodge, Chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts, has commented that the statistics are “deeply worrying” and says that “this reflects problems with the quality of healthcare, and that is a major concern.”
Whilst the legal claims against the NHS are brought on the basis of a poor standard of medical care provided, many patients have admitted that their decision to pursue a claim occurred after they felt frustrated and disappointed at the reaction of hospitals, who failed to apologise or explain why they took certain steps. Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, agrees and says “Most people who contact us say that all they wanted was an explanation of what went wrong, and changes made so that nobody else would suffer.”
The increase in medical negligence claims comes as no surprise considering the recent succession of news relating to failures within the NHS to treat patients appropriately and on time.
Patients who have suffered an injury as a result of negligent medical treatment may be able to recover compensation for medical negligence. It is unfortunate that some of these patients feel apprehensive about seeking legal advice due to the perception of a ‘compensation culture’. No patient should suffer an injury in silence and those who have suffered have a legal right to be compensated for their injuries.
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