Health board pays out £400k compensation over negligence claims
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.”