NHS pays £100,000 a day to compensate people scarred for life in hospital errors


More than three people a week are suing the NHS after being left permanently disfigured by treatment that went wrong.

Patients have lost limbs, gone blind or been scarred for life by the NHS and compensation claims are costing the health service more than £100,000 a day.

Since 2010 the NHS has paid compensation to 810 people who suffered a needless amputation of a limb.

In addition, 340 people were left blind after their hospital treatment and 269 sued after being left with scars or cosmetic injuries because of medical negligence.

NHS Resolution – the body which deals with compensation claims – has paid out £315 million in the past eight years.

A patient charity has said it is ‘unbelievable’ that some people end up worse off than when they went into hospital and warns the health service is ‘overstretched’, putting patients more at risk of mistakes.

The largest single category of people suing the health service is the 810 people who lost an arm or a leg because of poor care while they were in hospital.

These patients were paid an average of nearly £300,000 – costing the NHS £222 million over the eight-year period.

Some 340 people were paid an average of about £250,000, adding up to an £84m bill, after losing their sight because of clinical negligence.

And £30,000 was the average payout for someone suffering a cosmetic disfigurement, costing the NHS £9m.

Joyce Robins, of healthcare charity Patient Concern, said: ‘It is absolutely unbelievable that you go into hospital for care and then you end up suffering more.

‘Much of the problem is down to the system being overstretched. We just don’t seem to have enough people to look after patients.’

An spokesperson for NHS Improvement said: ‘Providing patients with high quality and effective care is a priority for hospitals.

‘The NHS successfully provides safe and compassionate care to hundreds of thousands of people per day, so incidents where this doesn’t happen are thankfully very rare.

‘However, it is vital that when they do, hospitals investigate and take action to improve.’ 


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