Clinical and social care negligence costs increase to £32.8m

The Department of Health (DoH) paid £32.8 million on clinical and social care negligence cases in 2019/20, a 12 per cent increase on the previous year.

A new statistical bulletin shows that £23.2 million was paid in damages in the year ending 31 March 2020, £6.6 million was paid in plaintiff costs and £3 million was paid in defence costs.

Compared to five years ago, the amount paid has increased by 24 per cent from £26.6 million in 2015/16.

During 2019/20, 4,022 clinical and social care negligence cases were open at any stage, up from 3,601 in 2015/16.

Over the course of the year, 786 new cases were opened, 642 cases were closed, while 3,154 cases remained open and 226 cases had been settled.

Over half (51 per cent) of cases with a known specialty related to just four specialities – obstetrics (617 cases), accident and emergency (654), general surgery (386) and trauma and orthopaedics (328).

A total of £151.5 million has been paid to date on the 4,022 clinical/social care negligence cases which were open at any stage during 2019/20, including £117m in damages and £34.5m in legal costs.

Three-fifths (£91.5 million) of the amount paid out on cases open at any stage during 2019/20 related to obstetrics, including £73.7 million in damages.

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