NHS Medical Negligence Statistics Hub

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Peter Rigby, Director of Medical Neglience

NHS Medical Negligence Statistics Hub

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NHS Negligence Claims Statistics

The NHS has been a valued institution in the UK since 1948. Today around 1 million people will use GP services each day, and nearly 45,000 people will attend an A&E department. Despite the fact that the NHS remains one the safest and well renowned healthcare systems, with so many people accessing the service, it is sadly inevitable that errors will happen resulting in negligence claims being put forward.

The medical negligence bill of settled claims for the NHS now sits at over £2 billion per year, with NHS legal costs making up over £150 million of this total. NHS negligence claims are therefore still very much prominent today. 

We have compiled key statistics surrounding medical negligence in the NHS from trusted sources and from the NHS reports themselves. The more that we understand about medical negligence within the NHS, the better chance we have of reducing the amount of errors that can arise and help us to further support our National Health Service. So it is crucial to be aware of the facts.

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NHS NEGLIGENCE FIGURES THEN AND NOW

Data from the NHS Resolution report reveals that the ‘cost of harm,’ now referred to as the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts (CNST) cost of claims arising from incidents, throughout 2022/2023, is estimated at £6.3 million. 

The cost of settled negligence claims in 2022/23 sits at a reported £2,690.9 million which has increased from the previous years data by £232.4 million (9.5%). Also, since 2006/2007, the cost of medical negligence cases for the NHS has increased significantly. In 2007/2008, the total cost was £582 million overall.

Due to these rising figures, the UK Government has set out to put a cap on legal costs pertaining to medical negligence cases. They plan to achieve this by creating a more streamlined system for lower value clinical negligence cases, ensuring that legal fees are proportionate and that the process is as efficient as possible. This could save the Government £500 million in legal fees.

COURT PROCEEDINGS AND NHS NEGLIGENCE 

The NHS have reported that, in 2022/23, 77% of claims were settled without court proceedings. This has gradually increased over the past few years, with 74.7% of claims settled without formal proceedings in 2020/21 and 71.5% in 2019/20 showing a continued effort to settle claims without the involvement of a court.

CLAIM TYPE STATISTICS

According to the latest NHS Resolution report (2022/2023), the top four claim types making up the highest volume of clinical negligence claims included: obstetrics claims, emergency medicine orthopaedic, and general surgery as seen below:

 

 

 

 

 

NHS CLAIM STATISTICS 

In 2017 – 2018, the NHS paid out more than £1.63 billion for negligence compensation claims. This figure has increased significantly, now totalling more than £2.6 billion as of 2022/23 figures. Notable NHS negligence claim statistics include:

  • NHS negligence claims span many specialties, with the largest percentage of compensation awards involving obstetrics
  • Over the 2022 to 2023 period, the NHS settled 13,499 claims
  • 77% of claims in 2021 to 2022 were settled without court proceedings. In 2022/23, 80% of claims were settled without court proceedings. 
  • The number of claims resolved without payment of damages equalled 6,611

MATERNITY-RELATED CLAIMS

In 2022/23, maternity-related claims amounted to £44,965 million (65%) of the clinical negligence provision. This is an area that has been highlighted by the governing bodies within the NHS and has been addressed by the Resolution who have included maternity claims as a core focus to improve on in their three-year strategy.

FAILURE TO DIAGNOSE OR WRONG DIAGNOSIS STATISTICS 

The NHS also recently released data surrounding the most common injuries occurring from a failure to diagnose or a delayed diagnosis that resulted in a payout. The data concludes that the most common primary injury was unnecessary pain with 976 claims and the most costly injury was fatality with a total of £59,571,839 in damages paid and £7,556,495 NHS legal costs.

 

 

Source: NHS Resolution

SETTLED CLAIMS

The total number of new clinical negligence claims and reported incidents in 2022/23 was totalled at 13,511, a decrease of 1,567 on last year. 

In 2022/23 6,863 of claims were settled without damages paid and 7,476 clinical claims were closed with damages.

Payments against clinical schemes totalled £2,641,7 million, damage payments increased by 12.2% compared to last year. 

 

LOW VALUE VS HIGH VALUE CLAIMS

A low value claim is considered to be a claim between £1,001 and £25,000. This is where the majority of medical negligence claims will sit. 

The highest value cases are worth millions of pounds. One of the largest medical negligence payouts recorded was £37 million after failures in maternity care led to severe disabilities and the child needing round the clock care.

As you can see from the table below, in 2006/2007 there were 2189 cases awarded a low value settlement. This rose to 3855 in the period from 2021/2022. Cases reaching upwards of £3.5 million have increased nearly eight fold, with 42 recorded cases in 2006/2007 and 364 in 2021/2022.

Notification Year
Damages value band 2006/07 2021/22
Nil 683 1,941
£1-£1,000 106 145
£1,001-£25,000 2,189 3,855
£25,001-£50,000 905 3,709
£50,001-£100,000 556 2,070
£100,001-£250,000 511 1,692
£250,001-£500,000 184 658
£500,001-£1,000,000 72 402
£1,000,001-£2,000,000 54 168
£2,000,001-£3,499,999 124 74
£3,500,000+ 42 364
Total 5,426 15,078

The above list of figures and statistics aims to demonstrate the current and previous position of NHS Negligence claims including costs, volume and types. All information can be found on the NHS Resolution, including their current and previous reports.

 

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Adrian Denson
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Peter Rigby
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