Patients (Claims for Damages)

Oral Answers to Questions — Hospitals – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd July 1954.

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Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Orpington 12:00 am, 22nd July 1954

asked the Minister of Health how much money his Department has paid in each year since the health services were nationalised, in damages for neglect or inefficient medical or nursing treatment.

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

Information in this precise form is not available, but I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a table showing the total compensation payments of all kinds made by National Health Service hospital authorities in England and Wales in each year to 1952–53, the latest year for which accounts are available. These payments very largely result from claims for damages in the kind of case the hon. Member has in mind.

Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Orpington

Will the Minister make sure that the Press get hold of these figures? As he is not willing to give them in open Session, is that not further evidence that under State control the health services break down when people are relieved of personal responsibility?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

I both resent and repudiate that supplementary question. I am publishing these figures at once in HANSARD, as is the normal custom, and not reading them out to the House. The Press, of course, will have them at once. I am absolutely certain that there has been no deterioration of any sort in the care which is given since the health services were nationalised.

Photo of Mr Ernest Davies Mr Ernest Davies , Enfield East

Can the right hon. Gentleman give an estimate of the cost of the neglect of people's health prior to the existence of the National Health Service?

Following is the table:

TOTAL COMPENSATION PAYMENTS OF ALL KINDS MADE IN ENGLAND AND WALES BY NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE HOSPITAL AUTHORITIES.
Amount
£
5th July, 1948, to 31st March, 19497,560
Year ended 31st March, 195023,636
Year ended 31st March, 195138,556
Year ended 31st March, 1952106,574
Year ended 31st March, 1953152,590