In its 2013/14 budget the NHS has set aside a whopping £22.7 billion to cover Medical Negligence liabilities. With individual payouts often reaching into the millions, it’s unsurprising that a First4Lawyers survey has revealed that 65% of people think the NHS wastes money.
To use the routinely peddled adage, how many Nurses could that employ? A lot. Well, just over one million actually. In fact, the NHS sets aside more on Medical Negligence liabilities than it spends on healthcare in Scotland and Wales combined.
The Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt has proudly declared that the NHS could save enough money to employ a further 4,000 new Doctors if it charged foreigners to use it. He also plans to save a further £4.4billion through a transition to a “paperless NHS” by 2018.
These are all well and good, perhaps they may even serve to reign in the leviathan, but an “ambitious” saving of £4.4bn over the next 5 years – whilst £22.7bn set aside on negligence liabilities represents just under a quarter of the entire NHS budget – spectacularly misses the big picture. People, staff and patients are suing the NHS left right and centre, and they’re taking our money when they do.
In light of the Keogh report, and the 14 trusts placed into special measures, Medical Negligence Lawsuits are certain to be on the rise in the near future, along with the Compensation Culture they foster.
Jeremy Hunt has no more urgent task than to reign in NHS spending. A stern review of policy surrounding Medical Negligence liabilities and lawsuits would be a wise place to start.
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