Litigation costs at hospital trust are £30 million over 15 years

HOSPITAL blunders have cost the taxpayer more than £30 million over the last 15 years.

According to figures, East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the Conquest Hospital, paid out the sum for nine claims in a decade and a half.

More than £24 million of the total figure was coughed up since 2002.

The figures come from the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA), which acts on behalf of all NHS trusts.

The trust is already grappling with clearing a £6 million debt, amassed in the last 12 months alone, due to factors such as an increase in the numbers of patients and overspending on hiring staff from private agencies.

A spokesman for the trust, which also runs Eastbourne’s DGH, said: “We regret the occurrence of any incident that gives rise to a claim or complaint by a patient and the distress they cause all the individuals involved.

“However, these payments are not a reflection of the level of safety or quality of services within individual trusts.

“The payments are made by the NHSLA and it warns against the validity of using payment data in a league table as a marker of quality and safety and because the amount paid out to individual claims can vary dramatically even in similar cases.

“The nine claims mentioned relate to a 15-year period and should be seen in context of the overall patient numbers treated by the trust, which include around 315,000 outpatients, 120,000 A&E attendances and 90,000 inpatients every year.”