Are we wasting a portion of our taxes on the mistakes of doctors and health professionals? The figures most certainly seem to suggest so. News that the cost of medical negligence payouts by the NHS has almost doubled over the last three years in Wales, follows similar stories from throughout the United Kingdom of such bills rising significantly. This article will look at the figures and finances and ask whether a large part of our taxes are being used to pay for the carelessness of doctors.
We’ll start by looking at today’s news. In Wales, the cost of medical negligence payouts has risen by £18million over the past three years. Furthermore it has been revealed that the cost of medical failures cost taxpayers in Wales £38million over the last year.
Thus the Welsh risk pool has been increased by £16million – with taxpayers’ money of course – to cover the rise in both claims and their cost, which has totalled £84.3million since 2009.
Meanwhile, the Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust was discovered to have had to pay over £5million in clinical negligence bills. To put this into context, this is around £4million more than the figure paid in 2009/10.
West Suffolk Hospital paid a staggering £4.6million in fees last year, which is a good £3million more than the amount paid in 2010/11 and even more than the £700,000 paid in the year before that.
Perhaps the most telling and disturbing statistic of the increase in medical negligence bills however, can be found in the revelation that the bill for mistakes in maternity wards has nearly doubled within the last 12 months to over £420million!
A still significant £234.8million was paid out in the financial year of 2010/11; however the last financial year saw a whopping £422.9million paid out in the form of legal fees and compensation for obstetric claims in maternity wards throughout Britain.
Britain’s health authorities believe the rise in bills to be down to the increase in “no win no fee” medical negligence solicitors. This most certainly has had some sort of an impact, but not enough to justify the sharpness of the increases.
From an economic aspect such large sums of money could have instead been put to great use through improving education in Britain, aiding our police force, developing deprived areas and even rejuvenating a hospital of the NHS! Instead however, it’s been used to pay off the negligence of health staffs.