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Misdiagnoses compensation rises to over £98 million

View profile for Judith Thomas-Whittingham
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The Telegraph has recently reported on the NHS Litigation Authority’s figures (NHSLA) which have revealed that in 2010-2011, more than £98 million in compensation payments were made to patient’s whose illnesses were not spotted or were detected too late, this is an increase of £42 million compared to the figures previously reported in 2009-2010.

Last year 1,204 successful cases were brought against NHS Trusts with almost 10% of those relating to health staff failing to diagnose cancer. Figures released by the NHSLA show there has been a sharp increase of almost 80% in the number of successful misdiagnosis claims brought against the NHS Trusts over the past 5 years since 2006-2007. In 2006-2007 there were only 681 successful claims, equating to just under £50 million in compensation payouts.

Since 2006, the largest compensation payout for a misdiagnosis was £4.1 million, with a further 8 cases of damages amounted to more than £2 million. These are typically cases where the patient has been permanently disabled and will therefore require costly care for the rest of their life.

A Department of Health spokesman has stated “Unsafe care will not be tolerated in the modern NHS. The vast majority of the millions of people seen by the NHS every year do get good quality, safe and effective care. However, if patients do not receive the treatment they should and mistakes are made, it is right that they are entitled to seek compensation.”

By clinical negligence expert, Sarah Fairclough