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Posted on 2nd May 2017

Key Statistics for Clinical Negligence Claims Against the NHS

How many NHS claims are made in a year?

Since 1990/91 the average amount of claims made per year is 5,450. Claims reached a peak in 2010/11 with 9,042 claims made in this period. During the eighties, the highest number of claims made in one year was just 1,179 in 1989/90.

What kind of claims are made?

The speciality which accounts for most negligence claims tends to be orthopaedic surgery. In 2014/15 claims relating to orthopaedic surgery made up 14% of all claims made.

Accident and Emergency claims were the second most prevalent, with 12% of claims relating to this specialism. General surgery and obstetrics were around the same with 11% and 10% of claims coming under these fields respectively.

In 2013/14 orthopaedic surgery also accounted for the majority of claims - 15% of claims made were related to orthopaedics. Accident and Emergency accounted for 12% of claims.

How much are clinical negligence claims worth?

Despite most claims relating to orthopaedic surgery, these claims are not the most expensive, accounting for only 7% of financial cost. Obstetrics claims are actually the most expensive. Despite making up only 10% of total claims made, they cost 41% of the total spend on clinical negligence.

In real terms the total value of clinical negligence claims by year is as follows:

In the 1980s the average yearly spend on clinical negligence claim was £50,075, in the 1990s this rose sharply to £175,914 and in the 2000s rose significantly again to £684,624. The peak cost of negligence claims was in 2010/11 where total claims were valued at £1,325,578.

In total, since April 1995 clinical negligence claims related to obstetrics and gynaecology have cost £9,737,706.

The majority of claims are resolved with damage payments. Since 2005, 43% of claims made were resolved with damages payments - a total of 34,146 claims. 23,790 were resolved without a payment which is 29.96%. The rest were resolved with periodical payments or are yet to be resolved.

All data provided by NHSLA.


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