Medical negligence claims cost the NHS a staggering £2 billion in the period 2020/21

The most recent NHS Resolution claims statistics show a sharp increase in the number of medical negligence claims made and paid, as an increasing number of impacted patients recognise the importance of seeking compensation for potentially life-changing injuries and illnesses.

According to the data, the total cost of medical negligence claim payments reached a staggering £2 billion in the period 2020/21 – an increase of 273.4% from the 2006/07 cost of £582 million.

Obstetrics CP/BD, which refers to the treatment given in pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period, where Cerebral Palsy or Brain Damage appear as one of the three primary injuries, saw the largest amount paid at £688 million, compared to £231 million in 2006/07.

In all, there were 12,629 clinical claims made against the NHS in 2020/21, revealing a significant increase of 133% from the 5,426 registered 15 years earlier.

From a specialty perspective, radiology, which is the brand of medicine that uses imaging technology to carry out examinations and tests, saw the largest increase in total claims made, with a significant 376% increase compared to 2006/07.

Jeanette Whyman, Head of Medical Negligence at Wright Hassall, commented: “These statistics offer an eye-opening insight as to just how widespread cases of medical negligence are and the substantial amount that has been spent by the NHS to settle these claims.

“For many patients, instances of medical negligence can have a significant physical and psychological impact, to say nothing of the financial strain certain illnesses and injuries can cause in terms of affording care or a loss of earnings.

“However, this sharp increase in the number of claims reflects a growing awareness amongst patients, that whilst monetary compensation may not reverse the damage caused, it can be helpful in reducing the long-term financial impact that comes as a result of medical negligence.

“Ultimately, if you or a loved one has suffered further injury because the correct medical processes and procedures were not followed, then it is not right that you must also shoulder the financial and emotional burden that can accompany such incidents.”