Redbridge health trust pays out �20million in negligence claims over one year

The health trust that covers Redbridge paid out almost �20million in clinical negligence compensation in the 2011/12 financial year.

The payouts – which include �14.95m in damages and �4.75m in legal costs – show an almost �5m rise in one year for Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT).

Across the country, trusts saw payments, which are actually made on their behalf through the NHS Litigation Authority, rise to a record �1.2billion.

BHRUT, which runs King George Hospital, Barley Lane, Goodmayes and Queen’s Hospital, Romford, paid a contribution of �11m towards the body last year – based on the fact that it both covers a large population and has had a number of previous payouts.

It was among the most sued hospital trusts in London over the last financial year and although the cost went up, the number of claims dropped by 11 on the previous year.

Solicitor Sarah Harman, who has launched several cases over maternity treatment at Queen’s Hospital, said she is still dealing with claims against the trust.

She added: “The expense to the NHS of all these payouts could have been much reduced had mothers been given a reasonable standard of care.”

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The latest Care Quality Commission report about the trust said its maternity services are improving.

A spokesman for BHRUT said: “The number of claims against the trust is directly related to the size of the organisation.

“This trust is one of the largest and busiest in the NHS and also offers regional services such as cancer and neurosurgery.

“This, coupled with having one of the largest maternity units in England, can lead to high-cost settlements.

“This is simply in proportion to the number of people we treat and has no reflection on levels of patient care.

He added: “We will continue to work hard to ensure that patients receive the best possible standards of care at our hospitals.”

The Medical Defence Union has called for a change in the law to limit the payouts the NHS makes in compensation.