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Medical blunders at our hospitals cost NHS £32m
9:00am Tuesday 11th December 2012 in Local News
Medical blunders at two hospitals have resulted in more than £32m paid out by the NHS in just three years – with millions going to lawyers.
Figures show that the NHS paid out £32.7m in clinical negligence claims to patients and lawyers at following mistakes at Southend and Basildon hospitals from 2009 to 2012.
From 2009/10 to 2011/12, mistakes at Basildon Hospital resulted in a huge £19.1m in payouts - £13.6m in damages and £5.5m in legal fees.
The numbers come from the NHS Litigation Authority, which handles compensation claims for trusts.
Bosses at Basildon hospital stressed that they carry out investigations of each incident to try and prevent them happening in the future.
Alison Kelly, head of litigation and complaints at Basildon Hospital, said: “Claims for clinical negligence are taken very seriously.
“We always investigate incidents thoroughly and take necessary action to prevent them recurring.
“Any actions that are identified to improve patient care and safety during the claims settlement process are implemented to ensure continuous improvement and is in line with the expectations of the NHSLA.”
The trust paid out almost £6m to patients in 2010/11, and last year had 45 claims submitted by patients against it.
In October, a 10-year-old girl died at the hospital after staff failed to give her the medication she needed, which triggered an inspection from the Care Quality Commission.
In Southend, the hospital's mistakes were the cause of £13.5m being paid out by the NHS.
This included £4.9m in legal costs and £8.6m in damages to patients.
A total of 43 claims were made against the hospital in 2011/12.
Sue Hardy, director of nursing at Southend Hospital, said: “We naturally regret any incidence of clinical negligence which occurs only rarely.
“When an incident does occur, we conduct a very thorough investigation and ensure that we learn from it and, where necessary, introduce changes to our practice to prevent anything similar happening again.
“Payments are made by the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) to which NHS Trusts pay annual premiums.”
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