NHS compensation claim bills rockets to £1.1BILLION – with lawyers making 20 TIMES MORE than victims
TAXPAYERS forked out a staggering £1.1bn in compensation claims through the NHS last year – with lawyers pocketing more than 20 times the payouts of injured victims.
In the most shocking case of astronomical legal costs, a patient claimed £5,000 for a misdiagnosed kidney tumour.
But greedy solicitors landed the health service with a £121,700 bill – equal to a rate of £800 an hour.
The body in charge of handling negligence claims – the NHS Litigation Authority (LA) – expects costs next year to rise to £1.4bn.
Last year’s £1.1bn figure is enough to pay for an extra eight million life-saving MRI scans or 61,000 emergency liver transplants.
Analysis of the £5,000 kidney cancer bill found that the legal practice was claiming a rate of £400 an hour, despite the fact that much of the work was carried out by unqualified staff.
The company then claimed a 100 per cent success fee on top of that, doubling the hourly rate, although the NHS eventually had the claim struck out.
In a separate case, the NHS agreed to pay £2,000 to settle a claim. However, solicitors then attempted to charge £53,529, which the NHS eventually managed to reduce.
Last year, the LA claimed to have saved more than £1.2bn by rejecting claims that were without merit.
Ian Dilks, the chair of the NHS LA, said: “The costs of litigation are placing a burden on NHS finances of a magnitude that was never imagined when the NHS LA was established.”
The NHS LA’s chief executive, Helen Vernon, added: “The emergence of non-specialist lawyers coupled with excessive claims for legal costs by some firms has required a change in approach.”
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