Legal action taken on the grounds of clinical negligence has resulted in a NHS trust awarding more than £15 million in compensation since 2005, new figures have revealed.
The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust has granted some £15.4 million in damages to claimants over the last seven years after admitting liability for errors, data obtained by the Westmorland Gazette showed.
During this timeframe, the body outlaid some £22.1 million to the NHS Litigation Authority for insurance and has settled compensation claims worth £4.8 million in the last 12 months alone.
Such a high figure has come as a shock to many experts in the healthcare industry, who have indicated that the trust's new chief executive Jackie Daniel must strive to drive the volume of legal action it faces down by improving standards.
Ms Daniel herself admitted that unacceptable mistakes had been made at the trust's hospitals over the course of the last seven years, but insisted it is now doing everything within its power to make sure the figure falls in the coming years.
"A significant amount of work has been done across the trust to improve the quality of care we offer to our patients and to ensure services remain safe across our hospitals," she told the news source.
Ms Daniel went on to say that doctors, nurses, midwives and other allied medical professionals are now in charge of the trust's clinical services and are being provided with sufficient support with which to manage smoothly.
However, James Titcombe, the father of a newborn baby who passed away at Furness General Hospital in 2008, insisted the body still needs to be "absolutely explicit in accepting where it has gone wrong in the past".
Mr Titcombe explained this would make sure funds are targeted towards areas that will make the most difference in terms of the "quality and safety of patient care".
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Posted by Francesca Witney