February 27, 2020 3.33 pm This story is over 44 months old

Lincolnshire hospitals pay out over £30 million for medical negligence

Hospital bosses say they learn lessons from the claims

Hospitals in Greater Lincolnshire paid out more than £30 million in medical negligence claims last year.

Figures from NHS Resolution, which handles claims on behalf of NHS trusts, show that United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust and Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust paid a total of £32.571 million in claims.

The number includes actual damages, defence costs and claimant costs.

ULHT had the highest costs of the two trusts, covering £19.274 million last year.

The figure includes £12,211,681 in damages, £1,712,036 in defence costs and £5,350,638 in claimant costs.

However, the total figure is down on the year before, when ULHT paid out £29.994 million in claims.

Lincoln County Hospital Photo: Steve Smailes/Lincolnshire Reporter

Dr Neill Hepburn, medical director for ULHT, said the payments were covered by a contribution to NHS Resolution.

“There is a rising trend of compensation claims nationally and every NHS trust pays a contribution to an organisation called the NHS Resolution each year,” he said.

Dr Neill Hepburn, medical director at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

“This contribution is like an insurance premium, the quantity is calculated by the NHS Resolution and they settle all claims on behalf of ULHT.

“Therefore any funds paid out in litigation cases are not paid by ULHT. This is covered by the insurance premium paid each year to NHS Resolution.

“We aim to provide the best quality care to each and every one of our patients. Where mistakes may have occurred, the trust uses this as an opportunity to learn lessons and improve the quality of care for our patients.”

Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital, Grimsby. Picture: Calvin Robinson.

Meanwhile, NLaG, which runs hospitals in Grimsby and Scunthorpe, paid out a total of £13.296 million in claims – an increase of £3 million on last year.

The trust also paid £153,560 in existing claims.

Dr Kate Wood, medical director at NLaG, said the trust learns from every claim that is made against the organisation.

“The number of litigation cases remains small compared to the growing number of people being treated in our three hospitals and our community services,” she said.

“Unfortunately, things sometimes go wrong and the consequences for patients and their families can be huge, often resulting in the need for long-term care and support.

Scunthorpe General Hospital, Church Lane, Scunthorpe. Picture: Calvin Robinson for Lincolnshire Reporter.

“Each case is investigated thoroughly and we are taking part in a national programme looking at claims to make sure we learn every lesson we can from them.

“In the last 12 months three cases, two from 2009 and one from 2012, have been closed which, between them, amounted to more than £8 million of the total.

“Whilst no two cases are the same, part of the reason why payouts are rising nationally is due to improvements in the quality of care and life expectancy for affected patients.

“The payouts also take into account legal costs, damages and defence costs, where they apply, and these costs have also been rising in recent years.”

All trusts across the country pay a contribution to NHS Resolution in order to cover any claims made against them.

Currently, there are four negligence schemes which cover these costs. These include:

  • Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts (CNST) – which covers incidents that occurred after April 1995.
  • Existing Liabilities Scheme (ELS) – which covers incidents that occurred before April 1995.
  • Regional Health Authorities – which was abolished in 1996.
  • Department of Health – which covers remaining clinical negligence liabilities.

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