£1bn cost of NHS negligence claims could pay for thousands more GPs, MDU says

A clampdown on NHS compensation payouts could fund more than 20,000 new GPs, a medical defence organisation has said.

Dr Mike Devlin: Warning over cost of GP indemnity
Dr Mike Devlin: Warning over cost of GP indemnity

The Medical Defence Union (MDU) has released an animated film to highlight ‘unsustainable’ rises in compensation claims by patients in medical negligence claims which, the organisation sauid, are increasing ‘way ahead of society’s ability to pay’.

Over £1.1bn was paid out by the NHS to compensate patients in medical negligence claims last year, enough, said MDU head of professional standards Dr Michael Devlin, to pay for over 20,700 salaried GPs.

Animation: negligence claims

The MDU is calling for a change in the law on personal injury to reduce the burden on the taxpayer with caps on the level of damages paid out for future care and loss of earnings.

‘Damages awards in England are some of the highest in the world and claims costs are doubling in value every seven years’, said Dr Devlin.

Clinical standards high

‘The reason for these increases are multifactorial, but there is no evidence that clinical standards have deteriorated in any way.

Dr Devlin added: ‘It is astonishing, given all the pressure on NHS budgets that NHS negligence payouts of over £1bn per year do not feature at the top of the government’s agenda. There is also low awareness among doctors, MPs and the public of the vast amounts being paid out by the NHS in compensation claims.

'We are working hard to change that and we hope that our short animation will explain why the law should be changed and how that can be done. Fixed costs are a start but only legal reform will stop the spiralling costs.’

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