£6m paid out in claims against hospitals

DAMAGES claims against hospitals in the region cost the NHS more than £6million last year, it has emerged.

DAMAGES claims against hospitals in the region cost the NHS more than £6million last year, it has emerged.

Half of all the money paid out for the five major hospitals in the area came from claims filed at Colchester, with Ipswich more than doubling payments compared to the previous year, according to figures released by the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA).

A total of 87 negligence claims were brought against hospitals in 2007/08 amounting to an average of £68,980.47 per claimant across Colchester, Ipswich, James Paget, Papworth and West Suffolk.

The figures show that the NHSLA paid out £3.16m on behalf of Colchester Hospital - more than £150,000 per claim.

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It also paid out £1.34m on behalf of Ipswich Hospital, a 213 per cent rise on the 2006/07 figure of £429,406.

At Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire the NHSLA paid out £395,083 while the figure was £824,406 at the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston.

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Meanwhile at West Suffolk Hospital the payment was £271,306 for last year, a drop of 51.57pc from 2006/07.

A spokesman for Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust said “Our trust is an open and transparent organisation and on the few occasions when mistakes do occur, we have the right mechanisms in place to ensure that lessons are learned and disseminated throughout the organisation.”

An Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman said: “We take patient safety extremely seriously and all claims are managed in accordance with the NHSLA guidelines.

“As described in the report's detailed introduction, the figures can include claims made in previous years but settled in the report year. The report does not give an indication of how many claims the payment relates to, or of how complex the cases are.”

A spokesman for West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust said the total number of claims which they receive is a very small percentage of their annual workload.

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