NHS Trusts racked up around £2bn worth of clinical negligence claims last year, according to new findings.
The findings, revealed by a Channel 4 Dispatch Freedom of Information (FOI) request, pushed former health secretary Jeremy Hunt to urge NHS Trust’s to end ‘targets culture’, as it “can create a culture where numbers matter more than people”.
The top 10 Trusts with the highest spend on claimant legal costs dished out more than £66m last year alone.
While the two Trusts which racked up the most clinical negligence claims against them – Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust – had the equivalent of four or five claims every week in 2020.
Obstetrics, or childbirth and midwifery, claims led to the largest pay outs in the ten most claimed against Trusts – resulting in over £243m in compensation to families in just two years.
“What is wrong in our system at the moment is a court has to agree there was clinical negligence. In Sweden, you don’t have to do that. You just have to agree there was a mistake, it could’ve been avoided and so you move to what can be learned from what went wrong much more quickly than in this country,” Hunt explained.
“Targets culture can be incredibly dangerous because six layers down the pyramid, someone might be given a target. They might not entirely understand the purpose of the target or the constraints under which the target was meant to operate. And in the end, you can create a culture where numbers matter more than people.
“And I think now we have an independent inspector like the CQC, it’s time to jettison the targets culture for good, because I think there is a real risk now of a repeat of Mid Staffs.”