Compensation settlements worth almost £4.5 million were granted by an NHS trust during the previous financial year, new figures have revealed.
According to the East Anglia Daily Times, errors made in the maternity unit at Ipswich Hospital - which is managed by the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust - led to multiple damages sums being granted throughout 2011-12.
Figures obtained by the news source indicate that five new claims for compensation from the hospital were lodged during this 12-month timeframe relating to the care of mothers and babies during pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period.
And these have contributed to the damages amount of £4.35 million awarded by the NHS Litigation Authority on the grounds of failings in obstetrics in 2011-12 - a figure that represents a climb of 167 per cent on the total of £1.62 million recorded one year previously.
This marked increase has led to a patients' group questioning the quality of the service provided by professionals at the medical institution, as well as the suitability of the organisation's management process.
Indeed, Katherine Murphy, chief executive of The Patients Association, has urged for improvements to be made in this area on the basis that spending vital funds on compensation claims at a time when the NHS is facing cost savings of around £20 billion is only going to negatively affect standards further.
However, Jan Ingle, a spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital, insisted such figures are somewhat misleading, as they make it seem that the trust is receiving a vast number of compensation claims every year.
However, she noted that, in actual fact, the total runs into seven figures because each claim tends to be relatively high because they include provisions to cover lifelong care for the individual in question.
"We work very closely with the NHS Litigation Authority and the claimants’ solicitors to make sure that all medical negligence claims are progressed in a timely manner," she added.
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Posted by Francesca Witney