Since 2006, Wishaw General Hospital has been deemed responsible for approximately more than half of all medical negligence claims paid for by NHS Lancashire. Patients have been awarded nearly 16 million pounds in monetary compensation, over the last eight years, for injuries suffered from medical errors.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, the Wishaw Press obtained figures showing that since its founding, NHS Lancashire has paid for 58 different claims to an amount totaling 15.8 million pounds.
The annual payout amounts have ranged from 12,000 pounds for two different cases that occurred during 2006 and 2007 to a startling 6.7 million pounds paid for a total of seven different claims in 2009 and 2010. In 2011, an additional 6.5 million pounds was paid out to settle another six claims. In total, these payouts account for slightly more than half of the whole 31 million pounds NHS Lancashire paid out during the same time period. These astonishing figures have sparked concern in many.
The most recent setback for this hospital occurred mere weeks after it was reported that two infants died within 6 weeks of one another after each contracted deadly infections in the besieged hospital’s unit for neonatal care.
An increasing number of voices are calling for independent reviews of NHS Lancashire. Advocates for review are concerned by the level of the negligence payouts and mounting legal costs, in addition to the actual claims payouts.
Although the figures for Wishaw are considered to have peaked between 2009-2011, the cost of these payments is undoubtedly on the rise. To date, full figures have not been made available; however, what is more alarming is that Lancashire is above the national average, and Wishaw’s figures are even higher.
Wishaw and Motherwell MSP John Pentland has announced his intentions to present these questions to the Health Secretary in order to obtain more information. With concern mounting on a daily basis, Pentland believes that the problem can no longer be ignored.
In response, a spokesperson for NHS Lancashire has stated that their aim is to provide “safe and effective care” for all patients at all times, and the hospital sincerely regrets when it is unable to do so. In the statement, NHS Lancashire defended themselves by stating that a significant amount of time is often required for such complex claims to be resolved through the legal system, and therefore, such numbers fluctuate drastically from one year to the next, which should be taken into consideration.