£70m paid out by NHS Health Scotland due to birth-related negligence
MORE than £70 million has been paid out by health boards over the past three years in clinical negligence cases relating to stillbirths and babies born with disabilities.
A freedom of information request revealed that NHS Health Scotland closed 30 cases between January 2009 and June last year, which cost it nearly £70.5m in damages and almost £3m in legal costs. A further 44 claims were closed with no compensation paid and 96 were still open at the end of June 2011.
All of the cases related to stillbirths or major physical or mental defects arising during pregnancy or perinatally due to the negligence of medical staff.
Scottish Conservative health spokesman Jackson Carlaw said: “The problem we have is compensation seems to increase without direct accountability; no-one is ever disciplined for negligence. This easy rush to compensation will, in the medium term, lead to higher insurance health premiums which NHS health boards will only be able to meet at the expense of front-line services.
“Compensation must be paid in response to a genuine incident. However, to reduce the need for claims those responsible should be held to account, lessons learned and procedures changed to prevent repeat incidents.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We are committed to making sure that all patients receive high-quality care from our NHS.
“It is vital that when clinical negligence claims do arise, NHS boards learn from these cases and put steps in place to ensure that there is no repeat in future.”
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