NHS spends £2.7 BILLION settling medical malpractice claims in a year with 41% of the bill coming from maternity care failures, reports say
- Failures in maternity care represented a significant part of the bill with 41 percent
The NHS spent a staggering £2.7bn settling medical malpractice claims for poor care last year, almost 10 per cent more than in the previous 12 months, figures reveal.
Maternity care failures accounted for a significant part of the bill at 41 per cent, roughly £1.1 billion, up from 38 per cent.
A family, whose baby ‘suffered a massive brain injury’ during childbirth, is seeking a seven-figure payment to cover the 24/7 care their child now needs.
Of the 10,062 new claims made last year, 13 percent were specifically related to birth. The other most common areas were emergency medicine, orthopedic surgery and general surgery, according to the NHS Resolution report.
The NHS spent a staggering £2.7bn settling medical malpractice claims for poor care last year, almost 10 per cent more than in the previous 12 months, figures show (File Image)
The NHS paid £490.9m to the claimants’ lawyers last year, with a further £158.8m in its own legal costs. In some cases, the NHS paid almost as much in legal costs as in damages.
Charities and lawyers warned that figures show maternity wards are “still not safe”. Dr. Kim Thomas, executive director of the Birth Trauma Association, which supports parents who have experienced traumatic births, said: “The same mistakes are made over and over again.” There is a culture of cover-up [and] blame and not learn from mistakes. It is incredibly distressing for families.
Suzanne White, head of clinical malpractice at Leigh Day, who represents thousands of families, said: “Things are constantly getting worse.
“There are midwives who say they are worried about going to work because there aren’t enough of them.”
Maternity care failures accounted for a significant part of the bill at 41 per cent, roughly £1.1bn, up from 38 per cent (File Image)
Last year it was revealed that more than 200 babies and nine mothers died due to poor care at the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust. And now 1,700 damage cases are being investigated at the University of Nottingham NHS Trust.
Paul Whiteing of Action Against Medical Accidents, a patient safety charity, said: ‘Our Early Notification Scheme allows for earlier investigation of entitlement to compensation than has been possible in the past and for learning to be quickly shared with the NHS.
‘Our Maternity Incentive Scheme is based on experience to promote the best standards of care so that…we can prevent these incidents from happening again.’
The midwife’s mistake caused the death of the baby
A baby died in its mother’s womb after a midwife missed signs that it had stopped growing.
The NHS Trust admitted liability, but parents Luke and Katie Hill still faced a three-year fight for compensation. His second son, Sebastián, died less than two weeks before he was born in 2019 after the midwife incorrectly tracked his growth.
Mr Hill, 35, from Birmingham, said a scanner “would have detected he was nowhere near the plotted weight” and he “would probably have been delivered earlier and had a very good chance of living.” Hill, pictured, said the compensation battle was “arduous,” adding: “We were made to jump through hoops.”
Dr Fiona Reynolds, from the Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said the care provided “fell far below” expected standards and apologized for “these failures”.