NHS pays out £655m a year in compensation for blunders and delays

The NHS’s annual compensation bill for blunders and delays has doubled to more than £650 million in five years, it was reported last night.

Patients’ groups said the increase was ‘extremely worrying’, adding that people were dying because of an increase in waiting times for appointments, diagnosis and treatment.

In 2017-18 the NHS paid £655million to 1,789 patients in negligence compensation – an increase from the £327million paid to 1,406 patients in 2013-14, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The NHS’s annual compensation bill for blunders and delays has doubled to more than £650 million in five years, it was reported last night

The NHS’s annual compensation bill for blunders and delays has doubled to more than £650 million in five years, it was reported last night

The NHS’s annual compensation bill for blunders and delays has doubled to more than £650 million in five years, it was reported last night 

Last year’s data includes 1,100 patients who faced slow or ineffective treatment and 679 who were misdiagnosed or experienced a delay in being diagnosed.

The figures come from NHS Resolution, the health service’s litigation authority, and follow a steep rise in hospital waiting times and cancellation of appointments.

Peter Walsh, the chief executive of charity Action Against Medical Accidents, said: ‘These figures are extremely worrying and show that patients are suffering and even dying. Sadly, the figures represented by claims are only the tip of the iceberg.’

He urged the Government to act to prevent patients experiencing more harm. Professor Derek Alderson, the president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said: ‘This steep increase in the number of patients awarded damages because of delays in their treatment or misdiagnosis is very concerning.

An empty NHS hospital bed on a ward in the UK (file photo). The figures come from NHS Resolution, the health service’s litigation authority, and follow a steep rise in hospital waiting times and cancellation of appointments

An empty NHS hospital bed on a ward in the UK (file photo). The figures come from NHS Resolution, the health service’s litigation authority, and follow a steep rise in hospital waiting times and cancellation of appointments

An empty NHS hospital bed on a ward in the UK (file photo). The figures come from NHS Resolution, the health service’s litigation authority, and follow a steep rise in hospital waiting times and cancellation of appointments

‘We urgently need to have a plan to tackle the increasing backlog of patients on the elective waiting list including a commitment to increase hospital bed capacity. Patients should not be left languishing in pain on lengthening waiting lists… they deserve better.’

The number of patients waiting more than 18 weeks for operations or other planned treatments has tripled in the past five years, while one in five patients diagnosed with cancer were forced to wait more than two months for treatment.

Some 9 million hospital appointments are being cancelled every year – three times the number a decade ago.

The NHS said it ‘cares for millions of patients every year and incidents like these are thankfully extremely rare’.

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