Clinical Negligence claims costs increase says NHS Resolution
NHS Resolution says that claimant legal costs for clinical negligence cases rose by 12.5% in the 2019-20 year, according to its recently published annual report.
The report, covering the year to 31 March 2020, states that claimant costs have increased during the year to £497.5m. Whilst defence costs for clinical negligence claims only increased by 2.8%, to £143.5m.
In the 2019/20 full year, NHS Resolution received 11,682 new clinical negligence claims and incidents, up 9.3% on the previous year. This was the highest number of new claims since the 2013-14 period.
Of the 15,550 claims settled, 71.5% were settled without legal proceedings, 27.9% with proceedings and just 0.6% at trial.
Increased NHS Activity
NHS Resolution added that whilst new clinical negligence claims went up, this was against a general backdrop of increased NHS activity and increased numbers of incidents being reported to it.
Claims for serious injuries at birth have shown declines for three years now and are at their lowest level for more than 10 years.
The future financial burden on the NHS appears to be easing slightly. During the year the discount rate for compensation payments was increased from -0.75% to -0.25, and the cost of claims received and expected to be received in future has come down from £8.8bn to £8.3bn, although Covid related claims are hard to predict now.
NHS Resolution chief executive Helen Vernon said the report reflected a more collaborative approach to investigating claims for compensation.
She added: ‘Litigation has reduced for the fourth year running and mediation is now seen as mainstream. The pandemic has placed enormous pressure on our colleagues across the NHS and it has been encouraging to see remote mediations taking place to that cases can continue to be resolved.’