Spending Watchdog Issues Warning Over Medical Negligence Claims
The National Audit Office (NAO) has acknowledged that long waiting times may lead to an increase in negligence claims against the NHS.
The report, NHS waiting times for elective and cancer treatment, says that ‘almost 40% of negligence claims against the NHS are related to failures or delays in diagnosis or treatment’.
It states that in 2017-2018, 3,000 such claims were resolved by NHS Resolution, with damages paid in 56% of these cases at a total cost of around £600million.
The NAO goes on to say that the elective care waiting list grew from 2.7million to 4.2million between March 2013 and November 2018. The number of patients waiting more than 18 weeks grew from 153,000 to 528,000, while, the number of patients treated each month increased from 1.2million to 1.3million.
While the NAO report understandably focuses on the figures and percentages, the real story here is the human cost.
A lot of illnesses are time critical and delays in treatment can have a have serious consequences - including life changing injuries and even death.
Until the NHS finds a way to reduce waiting times, negligence claims will continue to rise. More importantly however, lives will continue to be lost - and no amount of money can ever put that right.