Hartlepool and Stockton hospital trust paid out £8.9m on blunders last year

The University Hospital of Hartlepool
The University Hospital of Hartlepool

A HOSPITAL trust paid out almost £9m after medical blunders last year.

The North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust paid out £8,948,143.44 for blunders in 2012-13, according to the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA).

The figure relates to the clinical negligence scheme for trusts (CNST) for anything medical or clinical.

Under CNST, the £8,948,143.44 figure was made up of £7,247,375.48 in damages, £353,952.94 in defence costs and £1,346,815 claimant costs.

The trust also paid out £53,464 in damages as part of Risk Pooling Schemes for Trusts (RPST), which covers non-clinical claims, including those for health and safety breaches.

Also under RSPT, £15,056.66 was paid out in defence costs and £142,527.69 in claimant costs, making a total of £211,048.67.

But trust chiefs say the figures can be “skewed” as some payments can relate to historical cases prior to 2012-13 and the payment system has changed to speed up the process.

The trust pays a premium into the schemes, paid out by the NHSLA, and the payout didn’t come out of the trust’s pocket.

Cath Siddle, the trust’s director of nursing, patient safety and quality, said: “The payments made can relate to incidents which actually took place some time ago – sometimes several years ago – but have taken a significant amount of time to be settled.

“These cases can skew these yearly figures and can make it difficult to properly analyse any increases or reductions.

“Over the last two years or so the system for claims has been streamlined to try to reduce distress, meaning cases are being settled more quickly and which also partly explains why costs have risen.

“While for the overwhelming majority of people their health care progresses without incident sadly things do go wrong and we contribute to the NHS Litigation Authority so compensation can be paid where appropriate.”

The former Hartlepool Primary Care Trust, which provided services including GPs until being superseded by Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), paid out £111,714 in 2012-13.

This figure comprised £75,000 in CNST damages, £6,714.45 in CNST defence costs and £30,000 claimant costs.