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Personal Injuries Compensation Claims Against the NHS Rise by almost 20 per cent

June 7, 2013

The number of personal injuries compensation claims against the NHS has risen by almost one-fifth in the past year according to figures published by the Compensation Recovery Unit of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

The DWP´s Compensation Recovery Unit is liable for claiming back the cost of healthcare and certain specific state benefits from individuals who have made successful personal injuries compensation claims against the NHS.

In the year 2012/13, figures recently published show that 16,006 compensation claims for personal injuries against the NHS were registered with the Compensation Recovery Unit – an surge of 2,489 over the corresponding figures for 2011/12 and nearly twice the number of NHS compensation claims made in 2007/08 (8,876).

Remarking on the increasing trend, a spokesperson from the Department of Health stated “Whilst we know the vast majority of patients get good, safe care, the best way to reduce compensation claims is to improve patient safety further – and this is a priority.” However, the news of the number of NHS personal injuries compensation claims registered last year caused alarm in many circles.

Chairperson of the Commons Public Accounts Committee – Margaret Hodge – said the figures were “deeply worrying” and said that the quality of healthcare provided by the NHS was a “major concern”, while Chief Executive of the Patients Association – Katherine Murphy – said “I think the public has become far less tolerant about putting up with appalling failings in care, but most people only pursue legal action when every other avenue has failed”.

Ms Murphy´s opinion was mirrored by a leading medical negligence compensation solicitor who said “In the past, victims of medical accidents often had moral reservations about claiming against the NHS, despite having clearly suffered extreme negligence in some cases, but the shocking findings of the Francis report have now made hospitals fair game in the eyes of the public.”

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