Health board pays out £400k compensation over neg­li­gence claims

The Scotsman - - Around Scotland - By KEVAN CHRISTIE Health Cor­re­spon­dent

More than £400,000 has been paid out to pa­tients and staff in re­spect of neg­li­gence claims made against a Scots health board in the last year.

NHS Loth­ian is be­lieved to have set­tled a compensation claim for a staff mem­ber who fell on an un­even pave­ment out­side the Royal In­fir­mary of Ed­in­burgh, with falls on wet floors and nee­dle-stick in­juries among the list of com­plaints.

A Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest re­vealed that £379,496 had been forked out to set­tle 65 com­plaints made by pa­tients be­tween July 2016 and June 2017. The cost per pa­tient was ap­prox­i­mately £5,800.

A fur­ther £27,921 has been paid in compensation to 46 staff mem­bers at a cost of around £610 per in­di­vid­ual.

Union chief Tam Water­son said a lot of the ac­ci­dents were down to stress and the long hours staff were hav­ing to work. He said: “It is a high fig­ure and it shows the kind of compensation cul­ture we have which con­trib­utes to this, but what we have con­stantly seen money get­ting paid out for is nee­dle-stick in­juries.

“Uni­son have tried to cam­paign for use on in­tro­duc­ing safe nee­dles for the staff to use.

“In some cases we have neg­li­gent staff throw­ing nee­dles away or not dis­pos­ing of them prob­a­bly but if you use safe nee­dles – the ones that can re­tract as soon as they’ve been used – this negates any risk of in­jury. This shouldn’t be done on the back of sav­ing money – it should be done with a view to pre­vent­ing in­juries in the first place.”

The in­ci­dents oc­curred at ten hos­pi­tals with 32 pa­tients be­ing com­pen­sated for ‘treat­ment prob­lems’.

Dr Tracey Gil­lies, med­i­cal di­rec­tor at NHS Loth­ian, said: “Across all ar­eas of our work, we strive to pro­vide our pa­tients with safe, high qual­ity care and to pro­tect and pro­mote the health and well­be­ing of our staff and pa­tients.

“There­fore we are com­mit­ted to learn­ing from all such in­ci­dents.”

Miles Briggs, Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tive health spokesper­son, said: “Res­i­dents will be shocked and an­gry that mis­takes within NHS Loth­ian have­meant­tha­tover£400,000 of tax­pay­ers’ money has been paid out in neg­li­gence claims in such a short pe­riod of time.

“At a time when NHS bud­gets are un­der such pres­sure and pa­tients are fac­ing un­ac­cept­able wait­ing times for many treat­ments, NHS Loth­ian can ill af­ford to be pay­ing out an amount like this. It’s right of course that when some­one has suf­fered as a re­sult of clin­i­cal neg­li­gence they should be com­pen­sated.”

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