£30 million in compensation to patients from NHS Lanarkshire

NHS Lanarkshire has awarded over £31.4 million to patients in medical negligence compensation since 2006. Most startling is that Wishaw General Hospital, alone, is liable for more than half of this compensation given towards negligence claims in the previous eight years by the health board.

NHS Lanarkshire spent £15.8 million on 58 claims linked to the hospital since they were established in 2006, so say figures acquired under the Freedom of Information Act. These medical compensation awards stretch from £12,000 from two cases in 2006-7, two an astonishing £6.7 million for seven claims in 2009-10. The next year saw settlements for six negligence claims worth £6.5 million awarded.

The Scottish hospital’s highest awards also directly determined the greatest yearly settlements in 2009-10 (£10.4 million) and the following year (£8.6 million). The up-to-date figures for payments made in 2013-14 sit at £2,558,171, of which £1,037,374 was paid to 10 claimants against Wishaw General.

Giving his thoughts on the hospital’s payouts, John Pentland, local MSP, repeated his call for an independent review of NHS Lanarkshire. It seems that Lanarkshire’s compensation payouts have been above what is typical, with Wishaw’s payments even higher, even though the total Scottish figures to date have not been released. This is the most recent in a long line of tell-tale signs that things are not so good at NHS Lanarkshire. Mr Pentland has called for a full, unbiased review of the NHS Trust.

While this looks like more bad news for the NHS, here at Bonallack and Bishop, we take a more positive view of it – these problems have been going on for years, completely ignored and unreported by the media with the public largely aware – save those directly involved. If the appalling culture of medical mistakes that seem so endemic within some poorly performing NHS hospitals trusts, is ever to be reversed, then we will need to make sure that the full public glare is upon those poorly performing organisations – so they know they can’t avoid making massive improvements in standards both patient care and clinical practice.

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