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NHS: Negligence

Health written question – answered on 18th January 2011.

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Photo of Andrew Turner Andrew Turner Conservative, Isle of Wight

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much the NHS has paid to patients in ex-gratia payments to avoid ligation proceedings in each of the last three years. [This section has been corrected on 1 February 2011, column 7MC — read correction]

Photo of Simon Burns Simon Burns The Minister of State, Department of Health

HM Treasury consider ex-gratia payments to be a form of special payment. HM Treasury's definition includes personal injury claims that are settled out of court. Information about local ex-gratia payments made by the national health service to patients to avoid litigation is not held centrally. Local NHS bodies record 'losses and special payments' in their consolidated accounts and these will include all ex-gratia payments, not just those paid to patients or to avoid litigation.

The NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) records data held centrally specifically on ex-gratia payments made for clinical, employer and public liability claims settled out of court. As the NHSLA settles the vast majority of its claims this way, they fall under HM Treasury's definition of ex-gratia. Data provided by the NHSLA will cover payments to patients, although some will be made to families/dependants, employees and visitors.

Data on actual payments made each year can be provided only at disproportionate cost. The NHSLA has therefore supplied data in the following table which shows the total amount of damages paid on claims settled out of court where the claim was closed between 2007-10. It should be noted that some actual payments for these claims may have been made in earlier years to when the claim was closed.

Clinical liability Employer and public liability Total amount paid
2007-08 225,023,267 22,257,496 247,280,762
2008-09 196,195,332 23,323,690 219,519,022
2009-10 230,996,377 20,312,554 466,799,784

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