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MPs accuse NHS of reluctance to admit mistakes

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NHS staffing shortages causing concern

MPs have accused the NHS of causing the costs of clinical negligence claims to spiral because there is a reluctance to admit mistakes when they have been made.

The Law Society Gazette reports that cases now take, on average, 426 days to resolve, whereas in 2010/11 cases were taking around 300 days to resolve. MPs have said delays happen if the NHS either fails to investigate or fails to notify the NHS Resolution when harmful events have occurred.

The Public Accounts Committee has identified a ‘prevailing attitude of defensiveness’ from NHS Trusts which has helped the cost of clinical negligence claims quadruple from £400m in 2006/07 to £1.6bn in 2016/17.

Meg Hillier, the committee chair, has recommended that the NHS move quickly to share best practice in the handling of harmful incidents and complaints. She says there is a disappointingly slow-moving shift towards openness and transparency. A cross-government approach to addressing the problem has been suggested.