Compensation of more than £4.5 million was awarded on the grounds of clinical negligence by a healthcare trust last financial year, new figures have shown.
The West Suffolk NHS Trust faced a damages bill of £4.63 million due to legal action being taken against it by patients unhappy with the treatment they received at West Suffolk Hospital in 2011-12, the East Anglian Daily Times reports.
Statistics from the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) revealed that settlements were granted by the body after claims were launched for issues in areas such as gynaecology, orthopaedic surgery and obstetrics.
The total compensation sum of £4.63 million represents a significant increase on the figures of £1.25 million and £697,433 awarded in 2010-11 and 2009-10 respectively and Suffolk County Council has expressed its concern at such a spike in these cases.
Indeed, a review as to the reasons behind this marked hike appears likely to be conducted in the near future, as councillor Alan Murray of the local authority's health scrutiny committee indicated this may be necessary.
"Such an increase in claims would be worrying and warrant a very close investigation to ensure that avoidable causes are looked at closely," he noted.
However, despite the new figures from the NHSLA - which granted a total of £863 million in compensation after receiving 8,655 claims for clinical negligence in 2010-11 - the trust has insisted it does everything in its power to protect the wellbeing of its patients.
A spokesman from the authority stated: "We have extensive action plans in place to minimise risk and work hard to promote a culture which puts patient safety first among our staff."
However, the official indicated that the "national trend" of medical negligence claims increasing in number has affected its figures, even though the care and safety of patients remains of "paramount importance" to the body.
"It is important that we are able to compensate patients and their families should it become necessary," he added.
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Posted by Trusha Vyas