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NHS: Negligence

Volume 459: debated on Thursday 3 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many claims for alleged clinical negligence against the NHS were closed in each year since 1995; what the cost was of such claims in each year in (a) nominal and (b) real terms; and how many and what proportion of such claims were successful in each year. (133524)

[holding answer 23 April 2007]: Information on closed claims is presented within the following tables.

Table 1 shows how many clinical negligence claims have been closed by year since 1995, and includes what proportion of such claims were closed with damages (successful).

Table 2 shows the costs of closed clinical negligence claims by year since 1995 in nominal and real terms.

The following points should be noted:

The tables only include closed claims. It therefore excludes claims which are open but resolved for example, where the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) are still negotiating legal fees or where there is an ongoing obligation to make payments to the patient, such as where a periodic payment regime exists.

Category A claims are lower value claims that were handled by individual trusts up to 2002, and were reported to NHSLA upon completion. The NHSLA cannot account for the accuracy of the reported data.

Similarly, until 2000, individual trusts handled and funded existing liabilities scheme (ELS) claims less than £10,000 themselves. However these claims were never notified to the NHSLA on completion. Hence any of these smaller valued claims which closed prior to the ELS call-in in April 2000 will be missing from the data.

Table 2 shows the total value of the claims which closed in the year in question but the actual payments may have been spread over several financial years.

The real terms figures in table 2 are calculated using the deflator series provided by HM Treasury on 28 March 2007.

Table 1: Number of clinical negligence claims closed by year of closure including category A claims

Number of claims

Year of closure

Closed—nil damages

Closed with damages

Total closed

% Closed with damages

1995-96

90

11

101

10.89

1996-97

175

60

235

25.53

1997-98

218

731

949

77.03

1998-99

1,713

2,344

4,057

57.78

1999-2000

2,794

3,771

6,565

57.44

2000-01

3,822

3,080

6,902

44.62

2001-02

4,995

3,761

8,756

42.95

2002-03

3,981

2,939

6,920

42.47

2003-04

4,043

3,140

7,183

43.71

2004-05

4,101

3,501

7,602

46.05

2005-06

3,146

3,333

6,479

51.44

2006-07

3,330

3,208

6,538

49.07

Grand total

32,408

29,879

62,287

47.97

Table 2: Value of clinical negligence claims closed by year of closure including category A claims

Payments

Year of closure

Damages paid

Defence costs paid

Claimant costs paid

Total paid

Total paid in real terms with 2005-06 as reference year

1995-96

170,028

56,476

68,016

294,520

378,551

1996-97

1,063,160

363,379

342,282

1,768,821

2,199,451

1997-98

36,541,852

7,065,903

10,353,934

53,961,690

65,203,410

1998-99

75,560,281

21,541,336

26,922,960

124,024,578

146,146,822

1999-2000

285,740,566

42,490,778

64,751,113

392,982,457

453,900,434

2000-01

187,053,823

35,708,422

44,260,552

267,022,797

304,140,048

2001-02

374,545,865

56,642,017

72,446,479

503,634,360

560,340,855

2002-03

357,000,453

48,001,443

62,273,578

467,275,474

504,284,946

2003-04

279,212,845

43,286,729

58,283,364

380,782,938

399,076,610

2004-05

375,299,535

52,815,271

76,055,705

504,170,511

514,213,093

2005-06

372,820,500

49,598,018

83,232,436

505,650,954

505,650,954

2006-07

332,747,955

49,735,584

83,793,055

466,276,595

455,001,654

Grand total

2,677,756,865

407,305,356

582,783,474

3,667,845,695

3,910,536,828