Leeds and Wakefield hospitals in £45m of negligence payouts

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Almost £45m was paid to settle negligence cases involving hospitals in Leeds and Wakefield in three years, the Yorkshire Evening Post can reveal.

The payouts for mistakes or poor care were funded by the NHS Litigation Authority, an insurance scheme for NHS bodies.

Between 2010 and 2013, £28m was paid for negligence claims at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s Hospital.

A further £16.6m was paid for cases involving Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which operates hospitals in Wakefield, Dewsbury and Pontefract.

Claims involving obstetrics and gynaecology patients were among those resulting in the highest payouts – which are likely to be linked to incidents during the delivery of babies.

A Leeds health campaign group said the payouts were high and urged health bosses to ensure lessons were learned.

Retired nurse Maureen Idle, from Leeds Hospital Alert, said: “In any job a mistake is a mistake, but a mistake in medicine or nursing can result in a loss of life. You have got to be very, very careful. You also wonder how much is being done to make sure people follow procedure, both before and afterwards.”

The chief medical officer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals said there were a “small number” of cases where care was not good enough.

Dr Yvette Oade said: “We are one of the largest hospital trusts in the country and see nearly 1.5 million patients a year, of whom the vast majority receive safe, high quality care.

“Regrettably there are a small number of instances where hospital treatment falls short of this standard and in those cases we strive hard to put measures in place to ensure a similar mistake does not happen again.”

The figures were released to the YEP under the Freedom of Information Act by the NHS Litigation Authority.

NHS trusts pay contributions to the body and it then settles all legal claims against them on their behalf. Between 2010 and 2013, 391 negligence claims were lodged involving Leeds hospitals and 280 from patients at the Mid Yorkshire trust. There were also eight involving Leeds and York Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust, which runs mental health services, and three regarding Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust.

The figures do not include cases for non-clinical claims, such as accidents on NHS premises.

Tanya Skelly. Picture: Adrian Murray

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