NHS pays out £43m for past errors at Camden’s University College Hospital

A spokesperson for the hospital apologised for the mistakes (Pihotograph: Wikicommons)

Payouts for past mistakes at University College Hospital have cost the NHS more than £43 million over the last five years, according to research by the BBC.

NHS Resolution paid out £43.4 million in damages and legal costs between 2012 and 2017 for historical mistakes at University College London Hospital (UCLH), which sits on Euston Road in Camden.

The payouts are for medical negligence claims dating back from after 1995, with annual cost reaching more than £11.2 million in 2016/17.

A UCLH spokesperson said the figures “relate to a very small proportion” of the Trust’s million patients each year, but apologised for “when the care we provide falls below the standards our patients rightly deserve”.

The cost of medical negligence claims against public hospitals in England, which are handled by NHS Resolution, has risen four-fold in the last ten years to £1.6 billion in 2016/17, according to the National Audit Office.

An inquiry by the Public Accounts Committee in November 2017 warned that pressures on the NHS could see the litigation bill “spiralling out of control without effective action”.

A UCLH spokesperson said: “Patient safety is our top priority and we are very sorry when the care we provide falls below the standards our patients rightly deserve.

“We investigate all serious incidents thoroughly to learn from what has happened. We share our learning with staff and patients, and put in place actions to reduce the risk of further incidents.”

They added: “UCLH treats more than one million patients a year, many of whom come from all over the UK with very serious and complex conditions. The compensation figures relate to a very small proportion of our patients and serious incidents are relatively rare.

“That said, we aim to give the best possible care to all our patients and strive to communicate openly and honestly when things go wrong.”