£20m cost of ‘negligence’ at Milton Keynes Hospital

Clinical negligence claims at Milton Keynes hospital have cost more than £20 million over the past five years, the Citizen can reveal.

Ironically that is the exact amount it would cost to build the city’s much-needed new A&E department.

But Trust bosses say the negligence figures are ‘good news’ because the amounts are decreasing.

The payouts reached a peak in 2012, when £7.7 million was spent on damage settlements, claimant expenses and defence costs.

Over the past year the sum has reduced to £1.7 million.

Bizarrely the reduction could leave the hospital out of pocket. For every year it pays an ‘insurance’ premium to the NHS Litigation Authority to cover all clinical negligence claims. This year’s premium will be a whopping £3,781,815.

Director of finance Jonathan Dunk said: “The NHSLA is a not for profit entity, designed to share the risk of legal actions against individual NHS organisations.

“Membership contributions provide the Trust with indemnity cover for legal claims against the NHS, secures professional risk management advice and also give access to legal and professional services.”

Mr Dunk said negligence claims would always be higher in hospitals with acute facilities and maternity provision.

“However, it is very clear that the reduced premiums payable by the Trust in recent years is a direct reflection of the reduced risk profile associated with the organisation based on recent claim activities,” he added.

Meanwhile the NHS Litigation Authority say the surge of ‘no win no fee’ lawyers has prompted a national rise in negligence claims over the past decade.

Statistics released to the Citizen show the lowest year for clinical negligence pay outs in MK was 2009, when just £25,567 was spent. This rose to £1.3 million the following year, £6.6 million in 2011 and £3.08 in 2013.