NHS Doubles its Clinical Negligence Claim Fund
The National Audit Office will investigate why the NHS has doubled its compensation fund on tackling clinical negligence claims.
The NAO will probe why the NHS in 2015 set aside £56 billion to fund compensation claims.* The fund was almost double what it set aside in 2014 – is this a worrying spending trend, unsurprising considering the so called ‘humanitarian crisis’ facing the NHS? Or is it something more sinister which points to a declining culture of standard? This may be a standard to which patients often find themselves at its mercy.
The figure of £56 billion is almost half of the NHS budget for 2015. Surely this figure is a shocking one for a public service already wracked by scandal and stories of poor funding and crises. these past few years. Considered in the context of consistent political problems and scandal, this NAO investigation appears long overdue.
Paramount to this investigation is the safety and care of patients which often seemingly appears opaque in the current debate about spending.
The NAO’S main objective, aside from patient care, is to ascertain whether the NHS has achieved value for money with the fund. The Commons Public Accounts Committee which monitors government spending also wants to see changes to the way this compensation fund is managed.
Many would argue that the fund is not the issue but improving patient care and quality at root and branch would cut legal costs by 50%. On the contrary, legal NHS costs are increasing and little is known about how this fund is managed.
Some of the clinical negligence claims highlighted include inexplicable new-born deaths shortly after delivery.