The last ten years have resulted in the National Health Service paying a legal bill of £3.1 billion, and a new report from the NHS Litigation Authority has indicated that mistakes are still being repeated and lessons have not been learned.
The report recommends improving risk management at all levels, with an increased emphasis on the need for the NHS to review claims, complaints and incidents regularly to identify patterns or errors to improve the safety of patients.
The three most frequent categories of claim relate to the management of labour (14%), caesarean section (13%) and cerebral palsy (11%). There were 83 maternity claims involving a drug error valued in total at £9 million.
Chief executive of the NHS confederation Mike Farrar said “We must in particular learn from the occasions where things have gone very badly wrong. You cannot turn back the clock on a tragedy but you can do everything possible to prevent recurrence by focusing relentlessly on minimising risks.”