Hospital trust defends £39million negligence payout claims

Health bosses at the trust which serves the people of Hartlepool have defended paying out almost £40million in the last five years towards clinical negligence claims.

Wednesday, 17th January 2018, 5:00 am
University Hospital of Hartlepool
University Hospital of Hartlepool

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust shelled out £39million since 2012/13 on the claims, figures for which were uncovered by a Freedom of Information request by the BBC.

The amount is made up of damages, defence costs and claimant costs.

A large amount of claims relate to childbirth and associated injuries to mother and baby.

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Bosses said it is “rare” that a patient at the trust does not undergo the treatment that they expect to be entitled to.

Deepak Dwarakanath, medical director at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust said: “Our aim is to provide the very best possible service to every person in our care.

“Regrettably, as with all health trusts, there are a very small number of occasions when complications arise or we do not deliver the standard of care which patients expect.

“As an organisation, we are always looking to improve the care that we deliver. We remain committed to ensuring that we learn from these experiences and that learning is shared with staff throughout the trust.”

Following the publication of the figures, a spokesman for NHS Resolution said: “Incidents in maternity account for 10% of the number of claims we receive each year, but 50% of the expected cost of the claims.

“This is because of the very high cost of cases which tragically involve brain damage at birth where provision must be made for life-long and complex care needs.

“Whilst thankfully, these incidents are very rare, each one offers an opportunity for learning in order to prevent the same thing happening again.

“This year we will be offering an incentive payment of up to 10% of a trust’s maternity premium for those who can show that they have implemented 10 maternity safety actions, as set out in the Maternity Safety Strategy.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: “Our relentless drive to improve patient safety, including an ambition to halve the rates of neonatal deaths, stillbirths, maternal deaths and brain injuries caused during or shortly after labour by 2025, will help to reduce traumatic and costly safety failings in the NHS and ensure better protection for patients.

“We’re ensuring taxpayers’ money is spent effectively by taking action against law firms creaming off excessive legal costs that dwarf the damages recovered.”