Medical negligence at East Anglian health trusts cost the NHS £27m

Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire - Credit: PA

More than £27m was paid out to patients and their families who suffered from medical negligence at health trusts in East Anglia, figures have revealed.

Statistics from the NHS Litigation Authority show the organisation received 250 compensation claims on behalf of trusts in the last financial year, down by 10 the previous year.

Trust bosses said they were committed to providing the best treatment and care possible to patients and added all incidents were investigated for areas to improve.

In total £27,072,910 was paid out by the Litigation Authority on behalf of the major health trusts in East Anglia last year.

They are: Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn NHS Foundation Trust, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust, West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

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The compensation scheme is shaped so that every health trust in the country pays a contribution each year to the Litigation Authority.

The amount of the contribution is calculated by a range of factors, including the type of trust, the specialities it provides, its number of staff, and claims history.

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When a claim is made, it is handled by the Litigation Authority, which pays the compensation with the money generated from trusts' contributions. A spokesman for the authority said some of the compensation paid in 2014/15 could be for claims made in previous years that have taken longer to complete.

The £27m figure last year is a drop from 2013/14 – when a record £43m was paid.

The trusts with the largest amount paid out on their behalf were the hospitals.

A spokesman for Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (N&N) said: 'The cost of our contributions has fallen, reflecting our risk profile and claims history.

'The trust is committed to providing the best possible care to all our patients and all incidents are investigated to ensure that we identify any areas where we can improve.'

A spokesman for Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn NHS Foundation Trust added: 'We have a robust and integrated risk management system which picks up governance issues on an incident by incident basis, and via the NHS Complaints system that we can deal with and learn from any such issues before they ever become claims.'

A spokesman for James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: 'We want to deliver safe and compassionate patient care and, as such, we take all possible steps to minimise the occurrence of incidents that might result in a claim.

'If an incident occurs, we carry out a thorough root-case analysis, identify any learning and ensure that our guidelines and practices are updated accordingly.'

A spokesman for West Suffolk Hospital added: 'As an organisation, we learn from any incidents which do occur, have extensive action plans in place to minimise risk, and work hard to promote a culture which puts patient safety first among our staff.'

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