The Chief Executive of the Medical Defence Union – Dr Christine Tomkins – has claimed that the current level of hospital negligence compensation settlements is bankrupting the National Health Service.
Speaking a guest on the BBC´s ‘Today’ program, Dr Tomkins told presenter Justin Webb that, due to the Law Reform (Personal Injuries) Act of 1948, settlements of hospital negligence compensation were being calculated without consideration of the services available on the NHS and therefore based on the cost of private care.
Money which could be retained within the NHS, she claimed, is pouring out of the public purse to set up “one-patient institutions” and, because of this, settlements of hospital negligence compensation were rising faster than society´s ability to pay for them.
Dr Tomkins commented that the NHS Litigation Authority has periodic payment liabilities of £18bn – sufficient to pay the yearly running costs of twelve teaching hospitals – and that if the care available on the NHS was utilised instead of being out-sourced privately, this liability would decrease significantly.
Justin Webb then introduced Clare Scott onto the show. Clare´s son Charlie was only recently awarded a hospital negligence compensation settlement valued at £7.1 million for the avoidable injuries he sustained during his birth at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital in 1998.
Clare acknowledged that some of the care and equipment from which her son will now benefit could be provided by the NHS, but said that the compensation settlement will mean Charlie no longer has to wait for assessments by her local social services before being provided with the care he needs.
Clare added that the size and structure of the hospital negligence compensation settlement gives her son the security of 24-hour care when she, or the NHS, would be unable to provide it.