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Operations (Actions For Negligence)

Volume 961: debated on Friday 26 January 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many cases of action for negligence in National Health Service hospitals involving brain damage occasioned by misapplication of anaesthetics involved in operations were reported to his Department for the years 1976, 1977 and 1978; in how many of such cases negligence was proved; and if he will give such information for each area health authority.

Actions for negligence against health authorities are reported to my Department only in a minority of cases, when an out of court settlement is proposed which would result in an authority paying £10,000 or more to the person bringing the action. During 1976 to 1978 five such actions concerning patients suffering brain damage, and involving anaesthesia, were reported to my Department. Information is not available centrally of cases in which negligence is determined by the courts.