|The amount paid out by the Health Service for serious medical blunders and other accidents has soared by almost a quarter in just one year.|
Last year, the NHS paid out £807million - up from £661million the year before - after the number of claims against it rose.
Figures obtained by the Conservative Party show that the overall number of claims has risen by 11 per cent to almost 8,900 in 2008/09.
The 22 per cent surge in payouts mirrors a huge rise in the number of patients killed by hospital blunders.
Official records show that 3,645 patients died as a result of outbreaks of infections, botched operations and other mistakes in 2007/08. That was up 60 per cent from 2,275 two years before.
Critics say quality of care has suffered in the NHS over the past few years as doctors and nurses come under mounting pressure to meet Government waiting time targets.
Experts say the true toll is certain to be far higher, because many hospitals do not record all 'patient safety incidents'.
About a fifth of the total paid out - some £143million - went to lawyers, rather than as compensation to victims and the families of those who died.
Experts say increasing numbers of cases are being taken to court by 'no win, no fee' soliciaccidentstors, who even tout for business in A&E waiting rooms.
To cover their extra risk, these 'ambulance-chasing' lawyers get more in costs if they win than would be paid in legal aid cases.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
UK System! Blunders cost the NHS £807m
That is up from £661million the year before.