Lincolnshire

Greater Lincolnshire NHS trusts pay out over £140m in medical negligence claims in five years

Medical negligence claims over the last five years has cost four NHS trusts in Greater Lincolnshire more than £140 million.

Figures from NHS Resolution, which handles claims on behalf of NHS trusts, and gathered by the BBC Shared Data Unit, highlighted that £142,479,699.83 was paid by Lincolnshire Community Health Services (LCHS), Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LPFT), United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) and Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust (NLGFT) over the last five years.

The majority of this overall cost came from ULHT which paid out a total of £90,350,003.76 on medical negligence claims since 2012, making it the fifth highest payer in the country.

Between 2012 and 2017, LCHS spent £628,897.09 and LPFT spent £673,739.00, while NLGFT spent £50,827,059.98

Currently, there are four negligence schemes which cover medical negligence costs. These include:

  • Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts (CNST) – which covers incidents that occurred after April 1995
  • Existing Liabilities Scheme (ELS) – which covers incidents that occurred before April 1995
  • Regional Health Authorities – which was abolished in 1996
  • Department of Health – which covers remaining clinical negligence liabilities

NHS Resolution figures only include CNST and ELS, which means the total amount paid in Lincolnshire could be more.

These figures have placed ULHT in the top 10 trusts for largest combined payouts for both pre-1995 and post-1995 claims in the country. These include:

  • Barts Health NHS Trust (£123,066,279.06)
  • The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (£110,141,325.53)
  • Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (£99,568,149.99)
  • King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (£97,742,994.68)
  • University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (£92,416,900.14)
  • Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (£90,812,609.52)
  • United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (£90,350,003.76)
  • Oxford University Hospitals NHS (Foundation) Trust (£90,227,227.46)
  • Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (£84,328,729.53)
  • Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (£80,853,729.53)

Historic mistakes

Some £6,511,057.90 was spent by ULHT on historic claims post-1995 alone.

Of these claims, 100% linked to mistakes made in relation to maternity.

These figures have placed ULHT in the top five trusts for largest historical payouts in the country. These include:

  • Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (£8,449,332.59)
  • Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (£8,124,613.94)
  • University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (£7,492,315.26)
  • North West London Hospitals NHS Trust (£7,240,331.50)
  • United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (£6,511,057.90)

NLGFT spent £1,662,259.34 on historic claims between 2012 and 2017.

Karen Brown, director of finance, procurement and corporate affairs at ULHT, 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.”

Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust director of governance and assurance Wendy Booth said: “The number of litigation cases remains thankfully small compared to the growing number of people being treated in our hospitals.

“Unfortunately, things do sometimes go wrong and the consequences for patients and their families can be devastating, often resulting in the need for long-term care and support.

“Each case offers us the chance for learning to prevent similar incidents and following a rise in cases between 2012 and 2016, numbers fell for the 12 months to April 2017.

“Although no two cases are the same, part of the reason why payouts are rising nationally is due to improvements in the quality of care and life expectancy for affected patients.

“The figures in question include claims carried over from the local health authority and prior to the trust being established.

“They also take into account legal costs, damages and defence costs, where they apply and these costs have risen sharply in recent years.”