Compensation to NHS patients rises to £98 million
Compensation payouts to patients whose illnesses were not properly diagnosed or detected too late have increased from ?56 million in 2009-10 to more than ?98 million in 2010-2011.Figures show that nearly 1 in 10 of the 1,204 cases bought against hospital trusts last year were in relation to failures in diagnosing cancer. The number of successful misdiagnosis claims have increased by nearly 80% in five years from 2006-07 when there were 681 claims settling resulting in compensation totalling just under ?50 million.Sharon Allison, a medical injury lawyer at Ashtons Legal says: “The burden of proof in a clinical negligence claim is significant and very challenging. A considerable number of claims cannot be taken forward for the very reason that they cannot satisfy the criteria required. Those cases that do go forward require significant expertise from an experienced legal team including solicitors, barristers and medical experts. Substantial work can be involved as in some cases, the amount of money in dispute is considerable.Government ministers have blamed ‘no win no fee’ agreements to fund these cases for a sharp rise in their defence costs however, in some cases, it is the only form of funding available to get access to justice for the injured party. A spokesman at the Department of Health has quite rightly commented that if someone is injured and their case has merit, they should recover damages. One would have thought the focus should be more on prevention of the medical accident in the first place rather than the cost of dealing with it after the event.If someone negligently damages your home or property, do you live with consequences the best you can without any form of restitution against the person who caused the damage? I would imagine the answer to be no, so why do so many people consider healthcare to be so different where the consequences of injury can be life-changing and catastrophic?”If you have a query about a medical injury claim, please contact the Medical Injury team on 01842 752401.
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