NHS: Negligence

Health written question – answered on 11th March 2009.

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Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning Shadow Minister (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was paid by the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) to the 11 firms on the NHSLA panel for clinical cases for their services (a) on behalf of the NHSLA and (b) provided to claimants in each year since 1996-97.

Photo of Ann Keen Ann Keen Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Health Services), Department of Health

The NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) panel solicitors do not provide services to claimants therefore the amount paid by the NHSLA for clinical cases for their services provided to claimants is zero.

Providing data specifically for panel solicitors or for years prior to 1999 would be at disproportionate cost because the information is not readily accessible. Additionally, it is difficult to compare using information prior to 2002-03 because excess levels were operated on schemes, which means the data held do not cover all claims.

However, the NHSLA has provided the following table. The NHSLA does not have defence costs recorded prior to 1999 due to a change in accounting systems. Additionally, the NHSLA only records data by year for overall defence costs, which include barrister and medical expert fees alongside panel solicitors' fees.

NHSLA defence legal costs paid per year by scheme
£000
Clinical negligence scheme for trusts Existing liabilities scheme Ex-regional health authorities Total clinical
1999-2000 2,166 22,435 691 25,292
2000-01 7,223 (1)185,651 765 193,639
2001-02 (1)11,954 27,358 492 39,804
2002-03 35,919 21,905 398 58,222
2003-04 39,829 10,705 276 50,810
2004-05 40,016 12,206 206 52,428
2005-06 44,146 12,355 286 56,787
2006-07 43,334 10,162 244 53,740
2007-08 43,778 9,123 194 53,095
(1) The NHSLA operated excess levels on two clinical schemes whereby trusts themselves handled and funded claims below the excess levels. The NHSLA does not hold data related to these claims. Excess levels for each of the two schemes were removed in the marked years and outstanding claims below excess were then fully funded by the schemes. These years therefore include reimbursement by the NHSLA of legal costs already paid by trusts against those claims. It will also include legal costs associated with solicitors not on the NHSLA's panel because trusts were originally handling some of those claims themselves and will have appointed their own solicitors.

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