Figures obtained by the Welsh Conservatives show hundreds of millions of pounds have been spent by the NHS in Wales on clinical negligence payouts during the last five years, with the total annual amount spent on such claims increasing dramatically.
Last year saw the highest total of pay-outs in the previous five years: in 2017/18, a staggering £91,377,954 was given to cover 792 payments. This is a 43% increase on the 2013/14 figure of £64,049,530 which covered 643.
In 2014/15 there were 702 payments made totalling £67,931,182; £56,590,223 was spent on 686 cases the following year; and £71,753,584 covered 759 pay-outs in 2016/17.
The Welsh Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Angela Burns AM, said the increasing cost to the Welsh taxpayer is both alarming and shocking, and that the Welsh Labour Government must address with urgency the underlying factors that are driving these huge annual payments.
“These enormous pay-outs are a clear reflection of the immense pressures of an overstretched NHS workforce, who are under-resourced and understaffed.
“It is incredibly frustrating that not even a penny of these staggering sums ever gets spent on improving patient care.
“Risk is of course inherent in medical practice, but there are measures that can be taken to mitigate against aggravating that risk.
“This should include better cleaning practices to minimise surgical infections; improved workforce planning to ease individual pressures; and continued training opportunities.
“The Welsh Labour Government should instigate an urgent inquiry into its medical practices to ascertain why we’re seeing such a rise in claims against the health service, and put measures in place to prevent harm from arising in the first place.”
Please find link to the Written Assembly Question and response here.