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Lawyers' NHS bills are 'scandalous'

18th December 2009

New figures show the cost of fighting clinical negligence claims against the NHS is rising significantly.

Pound Sign

And it has emerged that most of the payouts from claims are going on lawyers’ fees.

The findings came in a parliamentary question asked by the Conservatives.

It transpired that in one case, a law firm received 58 times as much as the victim and there have been several examples of lawyers getting 10 times the amount paid in compensation.

Shadow health minister Mark Simmonds said: "Taxpayers will be rightly angry that hundreds of millions of pounds of their money is being paid out for mistakes in the NHS and that in many cases lawyers get their hands on more of the compensation money than the patients.

"The government could have saved significant sums of money if they had listened to our proposals for an initial fact finding stage before a case comes to court. This would have resulted in more cases being resolved without costly litigation, and there would have been more money for frontline patient care."

In the past five years, some 52,000 clinical negligence claims have cost the NHS more than £8bn with lawyers receiving £36,000 on average whereas victims got £15,000.

In one case a law firm was paid £102,000 while the victim received just £1,750.

Lord Justice Jackson’s report from his review of civil litigation costs is due for publication in January.

The Department of Health said it was committed to working with the NHS Litigation Authority and Ministry Justice to manage litigation costs.

 

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Article Information

Title: Lawyers' NHS bills are 'scandalous'
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 13562
Date Added: 18th Dec 2009

Sources

The Independent

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