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Since 2008, claims against the NHS have risen by 80% and by roughly 20% in the last year. The bill for medical negligence will soon exceed £19 billion - almost one fifth of the total NHS budget.
According to a report by the Imperial College London, there were an estimated 5.77 million A&E visits in 2012/13, an increase of over 2.2 million during the same period in 2008/09. The report suggests that patients being unable to book appointments with their GP may have lead to an increasing pressure on hospitals to facilitate the growing number of visitors. This could explain the rise in negligent claims with mistakes occurring as a result of over stretched medical staff.
When settling a claim the resulting compensation payouts cover more than injuries; they are vital to assist in the rehabilitation and care of patients who have been affected by substandard treatment. Continued care of the injured party, modifications to homes and vehicles, and specialist treatment all cost money. While compensation won’t change the past, it will go some way to ensuring that the patient enjoys a standard of living they experienced prior to the incident.
Medical negligence claims will continue to rise as patients refuse to accept a level of care that is substandard. Britain boasts one of the best health services in the world, employing hard working health professionals who often work long hours with little support. Regardless of their level of commitment to their patients, accidents can, and do occur.