Following an increase in the number of medical negligence claims, the UK government has been forced to provide more money to the NHS’s medical negligence fund.
There has been an additional £185 million added to the NHS’s legal funds. This is to fight the amount of Medical negligence compensation claims that have been taken out against the National Health Service.
Medical Negligence cases have tripled over the past decade in the UK. According to NHS managers, this is somewhat due to the increase in the survival rates of brain-damaged babies who require lifelong care.
Annual pay-out for medical negligence claims have went up from £277 million in 2000-01 to almost £1 billion in 2010-11. The absolute maximum cost of medical negligence claims in the UK rose from £5.31 billion in 2001 to £16.85 billion in March 2011.
Speaking recently, health minister Lord Howe went on record as saying: “If patients do not receive the treatment they should … it is right that they are entitled to compensation and the NHS Litigation Authority plays a vital role.”
All this could mean that the NHS could be reluctant to do certain types of procedures because the high risks involved will force doctors to take out unaffordable medical insurance,
In America there are well-documented cases where jobs are refused by doctors in risky specialisms as the cost of insuring operations are too high.
Chair of the consultants committee at the BMA, Mark Porter, said: “We do not want to go down the US route of private insurance. You can travel whole sections of the east coast and not find an obstetrician.”
There is little doubt that medical negligence payouts are rising. Cerebral palsy victims are now getting approximately £6m each. This equated to almost three times the amounts courts awarded just 10 years ago.