Speaking on this issue, a Department of Health (DOH) spokesman iterated, “We agree that clinical negligence costs are too high – so, we’re taking action to drive these down. We have consulted on proposals to cap exorbitant payments going to lawyers, and NHS Resolution will give hospitals incentives to learn from mistakes so that costs are reduced just as patient care improves.”
Due to increasing expectations from patients, the NHS has to now spend £1.5 billion in legal costs when patients don’t get what they expect and pay for from their healthcare providers. In 2015/16, there have been a 27% increase in the number of claims and a 72% increase in legal cost, which amounted to £1.5 billion.
NHS maternity wards are responsible for most of the expensive claims due to the high number of babies that suffer from brain damage at birth.
On the destruction path
It is estimated that the NHS will be spending more in billions within five years, which will send NHS on the path of destruction. This has prompted the NHS to revisit issues for the better, i.e. in terms of the amount of money spent on lawyers and payouts for damages.
With the highest claim paid amounting £5.5 million, the NHS is going to pay special attention to GPs – as these high costs have now put them in an even higher risk of getting sued for clinical negligence.
By 2022, it has been projected that the NHS will spend at least £2.6 billion per year on claims alone, if things and situations remain unchanged. To prevent more loss from coming their way, the NHS is asking for a whole reform of the legal system, and that calculations for damages to not be based on actual earnings, but on average earnings.
The NHS also wants to have a limit set on future care cost and also, the fact that there should be a limit of 10-year on making a claim.
Speaking about doing things differently from now on, Emma Hallinan, director of claims at the Medical Protection Society, expressed that “it is important that there is reasonable compensation for patients harmed following clinical negligence, but a balance must be struck against society's ability to pay.
If the current trend continues, the balance will tip too far – and the cost risks becoming unsustainable for the NHS and ultimately for society.”
A&E closures and downgrades
By March 2021, more than 22 million people will be affected by either the closure or downgrade of their A&E. This is what the British Medical Association has planned after analysing 44 regional blueprints for the NHS to pave the way for the organisation to plug the £26 billion black hole in health and social care funding.
Britain’s most senior doctor, Dr Mark Porter, said, “This process was carried out largely behind closed doors, by rushed health and social care leaders trying to develop impossible plans without the necessary funding.”
On the other hand, Dr Eric Watts, a consultant haematologist for the NHS, thinks the British Government couldn’t care less about the fall of the NHS. He said, “This is a triumph of secrecy and implacable lack of care about the NHS by a Government determined to watch it fail then fall.”
As for NHS England, their spokesman said, “Rather than just commenting from the sidelines, local health and care leaders and clinicians are coming together to actually try and solve some deep-seated problems.” MIMS
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