St George's Hospital Trust Compensation Bill Reaches £25 Million

Most common claims were for delayed treatment or diagnosis

St George’s NHS Trust has paid out almost £25m in settled damages since January 2016, for claims ranging from failure and delay of treatment, to medication errors, assault, and even being hit by an object.

The Trust includes St George’s Hospital in Tooting and Queen Mary’s Hospital in Roehampton.

It was taken out of special measures last year, but still ‘requires improvement’ according to the latest report by the Care Quality Commission.

The information, revealed in a Freedom of Information Request sent by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, showed the Trust paid out £24,837,377 in the period from January 2016 to March 2019, for a total of 140 claims.

Last year saw 53 cases settled, amounting to £10,490,999. This compares to just 13 cases in 2015/16, amounting to £2,346,712.

However, the report also notes only seven claims were actually received by the Trust last year, compared to 20 in 2017/18. This is because a legal claim may take several years to be settled.

A large number of claims were settled last year, resulting in a higher than usual payout.

The most common claim was for failure/delay to treatment. This was cited in 26 cases and resulted in £4,869,744 in payouts. This was followed by failure/delay to diagnosis, cited in 17 cases and amounting to £5,977,094 in payouts. The third most common reason for claims related to inappropriate treatment. This was cited in 11 cases, and led to £1,748,729 in payouts.

Other claims included medication errors, operation errors, being hit by an object, equipment malfunctioning, assault and wrong site surgery.

However, the report would not reveal the exact number of each of these cases for data protection reasons, because there were fewer than five.

A spokesperson for St George’s said, “We care for hundreds of thousands of patients every year at St George’s, and thankfully, errors of this kind are extremely rare.

“”In those cases where harm has occurred, it is absolutely right that we apologise to the patient and/or their family, and ensure lessons are learned to reduce the risk of errors happening in the future.

“NHS Resolution handles any claims for compensation on behalf of the Trust. NHS Resolution also meets the associated costs in those cases where compensation is awarded.

“We are members of the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts (CNST), to which we make annual contributions.”

Sian Bayley, Local Democracy Reporter

January 15, 2020

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