By Helen Rutherford
The NHS Litigation Authority has revealed that in 2015-2016 legal cases against the NHS have cost £1.5 billion (including the damages, Claimant and Defendant costs).
£418 million was paid to the Claimants’ solicitors; this is a 43% increase on the previous year.
Damages increased by 23% to £950.4million paid out. The number of cases brought against the NHS reduced by 4.6%.
The costs for the NHSLA were £120.1 million.
These newly-released figures have caused further discussion on the increasing cost of litigation and, some say, the need to reduce that cost. In particular, the increased legal fees for the Claimants have been criticised.
In an era where costs have been severely restricted in many types of case (RTA, some industrial disease, EL/PL etc) it is surprising to see costs increase so substantially within clinical negligence (the NHS having most EL/PL cases resolved through the portal or the fixed cost regime).