Negligence and legal bills cost Sunderland Royal Hospital £7.4million

Accident and Emergency Department at Sunderland Royal Hospital.
Accident and Emergency Department at Sunderland Royal Hospital.
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MEDICAL negligence and legal bills have cost Sunderland Royal Hospital £7.4million.

City Hospitals Sunderland handed over £7,439,022 in settlement deals between 2012/13 – up more than £1.2million on the previous year.

While the Trust says the negligence claims are a “fact of life” in the city’s healthcare service, those representing victims argue more needs to be done to ease patients’ concerns.

Last year, the family of a girl who suffered severe disabilities due to medical mistakes made during her birth won a £7.1million payout.

The child, known only as AM for legal reasons, was not delivered quickly enough and developed dystonic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, leaving her facing severe disabilities for the rest of her life.

She was left needing 24-hour care, cannot walk unaided and needs adapted equipment, housing and transport. Her family sued City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, which admitted liability and a settlement, worth £7.1million, was approved by the High Court.

The Trust will now pay out a substantial sum every year for the rest of AM’s life to pay for the care she needs. The latest figures come from the NHS Litigation Authority who manage negligence and other claims on behalf of the NHS.

A spokesman for City Hospitals Sunderland said: “We have built a reputation as one of the leading acute trusts in the country, both through our clinical professionalism and with the range of services and the levels of expertise that our staff provide to patients throughout the north.

“Part of our ongoing patient safety regime is to feed back every complaint and error into our day-to-day policies, so that we can learn from mistakes and try to ensure they are not repeated.

“Unfortunately, clinical negligence claims are a fact of life in a healthcare service.”