Only a few weeks ago I was blogging about the increasing incidence of pressure sores in the NHS and how it is leading to more legal action. (click on the ARCHIVE dated 12 February 2012 – “UNTOLD PRESSURE” ).
Now in a little publicised report by the Public Accounts Committee, boringly called “Whole of Government Accounts”, we have a more complete picture:-
- 8,500 new claims of clinical negligence were made in 2010/11,
- This is a 30% increase on the previous years,
- Around £1 billion is paid out each year,
- The NHS has to set aside £15.7 billion in claims which may be awarded against it in future years.
One of the significant reasons for the rise in claims is “claims farming” by our “no win, no fee” lawyer friends. You have to question whether this will lead to improved care ?
I STRONGLY SUSPECT NOT !
- Doctors will become more cautious,
- More tests will be done, further delaying treatment,
- Difficult cases will be referred to far-away specialist hospitals,
- There will be evermore paperwork,
- A culture of fear and blame will grow throughout the NHS,
- Mistakes will be hidden under the carpet.
This increasingly litigious approach to health care will erode the confidence of doctors and their patients. You go into hospital to be cured, not to come out damaged, with a compensation cheque in your hand.
Lawyers should be legal eagles – the champions of justice, but there is no virtue in legal vultures who feed off the carrion of the NHS. One third of all compensation settlements go to lawyers in fees!
I wonder where lawyers will be able to go to get treated when they are ill?