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Is Medical Negligence on the Rise?

It is clear to see that compared with England Scotland do not have anywhere near the same amount of medical negligence cases per year. During 2010 and 2012 there was an average of 395 claims in Scotland according to the Herald Scotland, compared to a massive 13,500 in England during 2011 and 2012. Obviously there is population differences with England exceeding a lot more than Scotland but the huge difference within medical negligence claims is astonishing. One of the main reasons for such fewer claims in Scotland could be down to the medical negligence claim process and the fact that the funding process was once totally different making it harder for those in Scotland to make a claim.

That said the percentage increase in Scotland during 2010 and 2011 saw an 18 per cent increase with England seeing a 20 per cent increase so it’s fair to say that when comparing both countries figures of medical negligence claim compensation cases that they are not on the same level they are in fact increasing in the same percentage brackets.

Medical Negligence has cost the Scottish NHS system more than 200 million during the past six years and this cost of damages is set to rise year on year. When averaged over the six years it has cost the Scottish NHS 35.6 million each year. The unfortunate fact is that all such funds do not go to the victim they are soaked up by health board defence bills and the claiming fees of the successful side which in reality is quite saddening as such fees should be capped at a limit to prevent a lot of the NHS budget being put aside.

Even more frightening is that during the six years a huge 2507 medical negligence complaints were lodged but not as yet turned into claims and may never be due to the time limitation but could have been increasing the rise in medical negligence claims even more so.

Impact of Medical Negligence on the NHS

There is no clear evidence as yet but it can be said that having to budget for huge compensation claims is having massive affects on the NHS in Scotland. According to the Shadow Health Secretary Jackie Baillie, mistakes can happen but they are very often due to medical staffs and health care workers being completely over stretched with resourcing not always being available and on a tough tight schedule that often is not always achievable.

Since 2009 an incredible 2500 nurses and midwives have been axed which to any mind professional or not can only be damaging to the health service and it puts greater force and expectation on a system that was already stretched to the max. It is not surprising that the number of cases of medical negligence are on the rise and if substantial medical negligence was present before so many valued hands were axed the only conclusion is that there is clear motive for why it is rising even further.

However although claims are actually on the rise according to the Health Secretary Alex Neil not all claims are successful and during 2011 and 2012 the costs of medical negligence cases was halved to 30 million compared to 60.7 million in 2011 and 2012. A clear argument for this though is that cases especially those that exceed 10,000 can take much longer than a year to be concluded so the actual bill for 2011 and 2012 could be a lot higher.