How much does medical negligence really cost the NHS?

When we visit a hospital, there are a number of things that we expect to happen. We’ll get the treatment we need, our injuries will improve and we will begin a road to recovery. It isn’t always that straightforward, however, and things can go wrong every now and again.

Medical negligence NHS
Image created by Market Business News.

Accidents happen in every line of work but when it happens in medical practice, they can lead to life-changing injuries and in some cases, death. The UK currently has around 16 million visits to hospitals every year and so, it comes as no surprise that things can go wrong from time to time even if it was unintentional.

These mistakes are made by professionals at all levels and are known as medical negligence. In 2020/21, there were around 12.6 thousand medical negligence claims in the UK which highlight just how often this can happen.

The NHS takes medical negligence extremely seriously and so, it’s important to know how much it costs the NHS. Read on to find out the true cost of medical negligence in the UK.

What are the forms of medical negligence?

Before delving any deeper into the cost of negligence, understanding what it looks like is just as important. Here are the most common examples of medical negligence:

  • Misdiagnoses
  • Surgical negligence
  • Anaesthesia negligence
  • Prescription errors
  • Long-term negligence
  • Negligent medical advice
  • Pregnancy or birth injuries
  • Dental negligence
  • Negligent cosmetic care

If you believe you have suffered from any of these injuries, you may be due compensation and so, should get in touch with a solicitor today.

The current trends and costs

According to the most recent data, the NHS paid out well over £2 billion in 2018/19 for medical negligence claims which account for 2% of their entire budget. This provides extreme cause for concern as that money could be spent elsewhere on things such as training, staffing or improving facilities.

The forecasts following this year of payouts were expected to rise to 4% which means the problem is not going away any time soon and things need to change to reverse the trend.

What can be done?

There are numerous ways that this trend of increased spending on medical negligence can be reversed and the sooner they happen the better for both medical professionals and patients. No one should leave the hospital feeling worse than when they entered. Some of the things that can be done include:

  • Investing in improving staffing
  • Improve facilities
  • Commit to learning from past mistakes
  • Praise high performance and allow them to lead the next wave of doctors and nurses
  • Improve support for younger, less experienced healthcare professionals

As you can see, improving the way the NHS runs day-to-day could be the answer to reducing negligent claims down the line. Negligence can leave people feeling broken and scarred which is why this issue must be eliminated once and for all.

Interesting related article: