How much Birmingham NHS trusts have paid in negligence claims in 2021/22

Trusts across England have paid out more than £2 billion in damages and legal costs for clinical negligence claims during the last year - including 254 successful claims against NHS trusts in Birmingham

New data has revealed that NHS trusts in Birmingham have paid out millions of pounds in negligence claims in 2021/22 following 254 successful claims.

The latest figures come as the latet stats also show that NHS Resolution - the operating name of NHS Litigation Authority - paid out £2.4 billion in damages and legal costs for clinical negligence claims across England in the last year - a 9% rise from the year before.

More than a third (38%) of these payments related to maternity claims. Individual hospital trusts do not generally pay their own medical negligence bills.

Instead, they pay a fee to be part of risk-pooling schemes run by NHS Resolution, which then settles claims on their behalf. Providers with more and higher-value claims have to pay higher fees.

NHS Resolution said the rise in payouts was mainly down to an increase in damages and legal costs from high-value claims - those worth more than £3.5 million.

And the sum needed to meet the future cost of damages payments has risen by 52% in a year to an astonishing £128.2 billion, a figure similar to the NHS’ entire annual budget.

This figure will fall due over the years and decades ahead and includes negligence incidents where claims have yet to be settled, as well as cases where the NHS has agreed to pay for care for the rest of a claimant’s life.

NHS Trusts

What does the data show for NHS Trusts in the West Midlands?

The data looks at the estimated value placed on the damages for claims settled in 2021/22 - to include both the amount paid out so far, and any estimated future costs, for example when a claimaint is given annual payments for life.

The statistics show that there were 151 successful claims closed against University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust in 2021/22, with the total damamges value coming to 46,820,715.

There were 39 successful claims made against Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust in the last year, with the total damages coming out at 49,819,691 in 2021/22.

A total of 56 successful claims were also made against the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, with the total damamges value coming to 21,865,247. And 8 successful claims were made against the Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust in 2021/22. The total damage value is 409,292.

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What’s been said about the figures?

NHS Resolution chief executive Helen Vernon said: “We will be accelerating our work with others working in healthcare safety to improve outcomes for patients, with a particular focus on maternity.”

Lisa Jordan, head of medical negligence at one of the UK’s largest law firms, Irwin Mitchell, said every year they represented many patients whose lives had been impacted by unnecessary medical mistakes.

She said: “All of these patients would rather the negligence had never happened and the settlements are not lottery wins, they pay for vital rehabilitation and support to help them get their lives back on track. In the case of birth injuries, it pays for a lifetime of specialist care for people left severely disabled.

“Each case is a chance to learn lessons to prevent the same things happening time and again.”

It is difficult to make fair comparisons between different hospitals’ negligence bills. Hospitals which are busier, and which offer riskier procedures, will attract more claims than quieter hospitals.

Those with maternity services will usually have larger bills than those without, because maternity payouts can be particularly costly. Lastly, hospitals which have been in NHS Resolution schemes for longer can have more claims, as cases can date back many years.

Of the £2.4 billion paid out in damages and legal costs in the year to March 2022, £2.2 billion was from NHS Resolution’s main scheme for hospitals.

The number of claims settled through this hospital scheme in the year - 10,078 - was similar to the year before. The rising cost of the scheme is instead down to the growing financial cost of average settlements.