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NHS: Negligence

Department of Health written question – answered on 16th February 2017.

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Photo of Lord Shinkwin Lord Shinkwin Conservative

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many payments for wrongful birth, other than cases of failed sterilisation or vasectomy, were made by the NHS Litigation Authority to parents of children with Down's syndrome in each of the past five years; and what was the total cost of each payment.

Photo of Lord Shinkwin Lord Shinkwin Conservative

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much the NHS Litigation Authority has paid in total since 1990 to parents of babies with disabilities who claimed that they would have had an abortion had they known earlier that their child would have a disability.

Photo of Lord Shinkwin Lord Shinkwin Conservative

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many successful claims for wrongful birth, other than cases of failed sterilisation or vasectomy, have been made since 1990; what was the total amount of compensation awarded by the NHS Litigation Authority in each case; and for what specific disabilities was compensation awarded in successful claims.

Photo of Lord O'Shaughnessy Lord O'Shaughnessy The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

There are two successful claims for wrongful birth recorded in the NHS Litigation Authority (NHS LA) Claims Management System that relate to a child being born with Downs Syndrome in the period requested. The damages paid to date relating to these two cases are £7,454,200, with the total payments over the lifetime of the claims calculated to reach £10,457,242.

Data is not held on the NHS LA Claims Management System on how much the NHS LA has paid out in total since 1990 to parents of babies with disabilities who claimed that they would have had an abortion had they known earlier that their child would have a disability. To obtain the data, a manual review of the case files would be required which would incur disproportionate cost. Data would only be available from April 1995 when the NHS LA was established, as before that trusts dealt with their clinical negligence claims locally.

There have been a total of 156 successful wrongful birth claims; this figure does not include failed vasectomy or sterilisation claims. To date, these claims have resulted in payments of damages of £114,264,308 with the total payments over the lifetime of the claims calculated to reach £123,894,773. It is not possible to provide data on the specific disabilities for which compensation was awarded in these cases without a manual review of the case files which would incur disproportionate cost.

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