8 patients maimed by hospital blunders every week: Official NHS figures reveal shocking number of serious injuries caused by medical incompetence


Eight patients a week maimed by hospital blunders: Official NHS figures reveal shocking number of serious injuries caused by medical incompetenceIn 2010-2011 eight patients a week were left brain-damaged, blind or missing a limb30million in compensation was paid out to those injuredAmputation payouts alone cost 18million

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UPDATED:

10:57 GMT, 31 December 2012

Malpractice: Eight patients a week in 2010-2011 suffered serious injury, such as the amputation of a limb, because of NHS incompetence. File picture

Malpractice: Eight patients a week in 2010-2011 suffered serious injury, such as the amputation of a limb, because of NHS incompetence. File picture

Eight patients a week are left brain-damaged, blind or missing a limb due to NHS blunders, official figures reveal.

In 2010-11, more than 30million compensation was paid out for such injuries, part of a record 1.3billion bill for mistakes by careless or incompetent medical staff.

There were 215 claims for brain damage, with almost 12million paid out.

The NHS Litigation Authority handled 134 claims involving the amputation of an arm or leg, at a cost to the taxpayer of 18million. There were also 56 claims for blindness in England.

Since 1998, at least 1,500 people have sued over a lost limb, 2,860 for brain damage and 809 over being blinded.

Between 1998 and 2011, almost 1.5billion was paid to those left blind, brain-damaged or missing a limb. When all types of medical negligence are taken into account, the NHS paid a record 1.3billion in 2010-11, a 46 per cent increase on the previous year.

The total includes a small amount for non-medical claims – incidents such as slips and falls in hospitals.

The rise is blamed on no-win, no-fee lawyers, who sometimes pocket far more money than the patients they represent.

Tory MP Chris Skidmore, a member of the Commons health select committee, said: ‘Where there is negligence and poor performance, we shouldn’t be afraid to root it out.

‘We must put patients first if we are to have a world-class NHS.’

Catherine
Dixon, chief executive of the NHS Litigation Authority, said: ‘In
general the NHS is very safe but if an NHS patient has suffered injury
as a result of a mistake, it is right that they are financially
compensated.

‘We aim to help reduce claims by working with the NHS to prevent mistakes from happening in the first place.’

Blind justice: The figures also showed that 809 people have sued the NHS for being blinded since 1998

Blind justice: The figures also showed that 809 people have sued the NHS for being blinded since 1998. File picture