NHS compensation payments to claimants during the 2017/18 financial year have risen by over £520 million compared to the previous year; reaching a record high of just over £1.6 billion in payouts, according to NHS Resolution’s Annual Report and Accounts 2017/18.
A significant contributor to the rise in payments to claimants was the discount rate cut. The discount rate, which increases the cost of long-term clinical negligence payouts when lowered, was slashed from 2.5% to -0.75% the previous year, resulting in additional costs of £404 million.
Despite clinical negligence claim numbers having stabilised after years of significant growth – with 13 claims fewer than the previous year – payouts in general have grown in size; with some as large as £20 million.
Clinical negligence occurs when a medical professional with a duty of care over their patient does not provide a high level of service and breaches that duty, resulting in harm to the patient which leads to damages or other losses. Claims can vary significantly, ranging from issues such as delayed or incorrect diagnosis to careless surgical procedures, failure to obtain consent, wrongful amputation and medication errors.
Clinical negligence claims not only cover any pain and suffering; they also aid in paying for any loss of finances sustained, as well as the cost of any medical bills and long-term treatments that are necessary.