Ringrose Law Clinical Negligence Solicitors debunk the myths of negligence costs and examine, who is to blame for the NHS claim drain?

What is the Impact of Negligence Claims?

The overall impact of negligence on the NHS budget of £116bn remains very low:

  • Compensation – £950.4m (0.8%)
  • Claimant Costs – £418.0m (0.3%)
  • Defendant Costs – £120.1m (0.1%)

In contrast, the importance of receiving expert legal help is very high. For those who have suffered life-changing injuries as a result of negligent treatment it is often the only way to be heard.

Despite a ‘duty of candour’ (a requirement to own up and apologise for mistakes) becoming law in November 2014, there remains no requirement or mechanism of voluntary compensation payments.

Are Claimant’s to blame?

NHS Litigation Authority Chief Executive, Helen Vernon, is candid about the growing cost to the NHS: “The key to reducing the growing cost of claims is learning from what goes wrong”.

  • Myth:   The cause of clinical negligence claims is clinical negligence claimants.
  • Truth:  The cause of clinical negligence claims is negligent medical treatment.

Surely It’s Their Lawyers?

Soundbites and statistics from the NHSLA often point the finger at personal injury solicitors: “claimant legal costs…have risen…and continue be disproportionate as they are markedly greater than defence costs”

John Knight, head of Ringrose Law Clinical Negligence Department explains why a direct comparison should not be made: “The duties on claimants and defendants are very different. The cost incurred by both sides will be very different too.

  • Myth:    Claimant costs should be the same as defendant costs.
  • Truth:   Claimant costs will always be higher because they have a duty to investigate and prove their claim whereas the defendant simply responds to it.

The Internal Problem

Litigation Futures, an independent legal publication, revealed this week that the NHSLA settle a staggering 76% of claims in which court proceedings are started.

  • Myth:    Claimant costs are higher, claimant solicitors must be to blame.
  • Truth:   A claim is concluded when both parties reach agreement or there is a trial.   A claimant may want to reach a settlement while a defendant has a vested interest not to.

The majority of those claim could have been settled at an earlier stage at a lower cost to the NHS and the public.

When we look again at who is to blame for the NHS claim drain, it is clearly not the medical negligence solicitors acting for people who have suffered negligent medical treatment.

If you or someone you know has been involved in Clinical Negligence resulting in life-changing injuries.   Contact a member of our Clinical Negligence Department, we have offices in Lincoln, Boston, Spalding, Sleaford, Grantham and Newark. Call 01522 561020.

How can we help?

    Contact Details
    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Google Privacy Policy, Our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.