Public Accounts Committee

Cost of Clinical Negligence in Trusts inquiry

Inquiry status: open

Report published 1 December 2017. Awaiting Government response.

Report published

Scope of the inquiry

Clinical negligence is the breach of a legal duty of care to a patient by members of the healthcare profession. Where this has taken place, a patient or their representative can claim damages and the NHS is liable for any claim against its employees.

The cost to the NHS of clinical negligence claims was £1.6billion in 2016–17. This is quadruple the figure for 2006–07, according to figures from the National Audit Office (NAO). In the same time frame, legal costs for these claims have risen from £77million to £487million.

Since 1995 NHS Resolution has provided indemnity cover for NHS trusts in England through its Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts. All 234 NHS England costs pay NHS Resolution an annual contribution towards this coverage.

According to the NAO, the cost of claims handled by NHS Resolution's Clinical Negligence in Trusts Scheme is increasing faster than year-on-year increases in NHS funding, and is therefore impacting on how much NHS trusts can spend on care.

The Public Accounts Committee will ask how the Department of Health, NHS Resolution and the Ministry of Justice are exploring the impact of rising costs and working together to tackle them while providing a quick and efficient service for claimants.

Publications

Read all transcripts, written evidence and other material related to the inquiry on the Cost of Clinical Negligence in Trusts.

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