Hospital trust serving Hartlepool pays out £39million in clinical negligence claims

University Hospital of Hartlepool
University Hospital of Hartlepool

A hospital trust serving the people of Hartlepool has paid out a whopping £39million in clinical negligence claims.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust was forced to cough up £8,948,143.44 in 2012/ 13, £4,617,858.33 in 2013/ 14, £3,826,993.60 in 2014/ 15, £9,810,531.09 in 2015/ 16 and £11,961,520.27 last year.

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

NHS Resolution spokesman

The figures, which were obtained by the BBC by means of a Freedom of Information request, make a five-year total of £39,165,046.73.

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.

A spokesman for the Department of Health 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 – but we’re also clear we want to ensure patients continue to access justice at a reasonable cost.”

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.”

The trust was contacted for a comment.