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Warnings over staff cuts after negligence costs rise

  • 8 Comments

Cuts to staffing and training budgets have been described as a “false economy” and “short sighted” after new figures showed the spiralling cost of lawsuits against the NHS.

The NHS Litigation Authority’s annual report showed that the number of clinical negligence claims brought against the NHS rose by 32 per cent in 2010-11, to 8,655. The NHS paid out £863m to claimants last year, up from £787m the year before.

Chris Cox, legal director at the Royal College of Nursing, said the figures were no reflection on the safety of NHS care, and warned that there would be a rise in clinical negligence cases if staffing numbers and skill levels were cut back. “It’s short-sighted to think it is too costly an exercise to maintain this level of staffing”, he told Nursing Times.

He said nurses could help minimise the risk of claims by keeping their skills and knowledge up to date, being open with patients about the risks associated with their treatment, and reporting any shortcomings in the care environment.

At the end of 2010-11, the NHS Litigation Authority was making contributions to 930 claimants requiring ongoing support, and has set aside £2.4bn for future payments.

Many of these cases are associated with complications during birth. Royal College of Midwives education and research manager Sue Macdonald added it was a “false economy” not to invest in sufficient staff numbers or continuous professional development.

  • 8 Comments

Readers' comments (8)

  • "Chris Cox, legal director at the Royal College of Nursing, said the figures were no reflection on the safety of NHS care, and warned that there would be a rise in clinical negligence cases if staffing numbers and skill levels were cut back. “It’s short-sighted to think it is too costly an exercise to maintain this level of staffing”, he told Nursing Times."

    I take it all back about the RCN being toothless and silent. I bet the Government are absolutely messing themselves after this savage attack, not!

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  • And yet another press release from the department of the bloody obvious!!!! Any idiot could have foreseen this!

    First of all, now that the RCN has stated the obvious, what the hell are they going to do about it? Sod all, I'll wager.

    Second of all, "He said nurses could help minimise the risk of claims by keeping their skills and knowledge up to date", he can stick that right up his patronising proverbial. We DO keep our skills and knowledge up to date, but that isn't going to make the damndest bit of difference if there are not enough staff to look after patients in the first place!!

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  • mike | 13-Aug-2011 10:00 am

    Absolutely right, the RCN are all mouth and no trousers.

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  • tinkerbell

    Mike well said.

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  • tinkerbell

    Maybe the RCN should change its name to DBO instead. Or LBDN (look busy doing nothing).

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  • non comprendo! what is DBO please?

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  • tinkerbell

    sorry concerning mikes comment 'department of the bleedin obvious'.

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  • Aha, thanks!

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