Trust’s £90m payout due to patient errors

Pilgrim Hospital, Boston
Pilgrim Hospital, Boston

The trust which runs Lincolnshire’s hospitals has paid out more than £90 million in costs incurred due to errors over the past five years.

New research by the BBC Local News Partnership says that United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust paid out the seventh highest amount for all errors across UK trusts at £90,350,004.

It was also placed fifth highest in the amount it has been paying out in the past five years for what the survey describes as ‘maternity errors made before 1995’.

The costs ULHT has paid between 2012-2017 include £60,725,252 in damages, £8,477,018 in defence costs and £21,147,733 in legal fees recovered by claimants.

According to the BBC Local News Partnership report the six NHS trusts paying out more than ULHT are:

l Barts Health NHS Trust - £123,066,279

l Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust - £110, 141, 326

l Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust - £99,568,150

l Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust - £97, 742, 995

l University Hospitals of Leicester - £92,416,900

l Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust - £90,812,610

The analysis shows that, nationally, NHS medical errors dating back more than two decades are still costing tens of millions of pounds a year in damages.

In the past five years, the Department of Health has paid out £152 million, including legal fees, to victims of mistakes made before April 1995 in England.

Hospital failings during childbirth account for more than two-thirds of this cost.

And experts have warned that, nationally, these same mistakes are still being repeated in labour wards today.

The bill for all types of medical negligence claims in England - including damages and legal fees - has risen four-fold in 10 years to £1.6 billion in 2016-17, the National Audit Office has warned.

An inquiry by the Public Accounts Committee in November 2017 warned that pressures on the NHS could see the litigation bill ‘spiralling out of control without effective action’.

ULHT’s Director of Finance, Procurement and Corporate Affairs Karen Brown said: “ULHT is one of the biggest trusts in the country, treating a large number of patients.

“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.

“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.

“This has been reflected in a reduction in our premiums for 2018/2019.”