Sheffield hospital trusts pay £7m less over negligence claims

Sheffield's Royal Hallamshire Hospital
Sheffield's Royal Hallamshire Hospital
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The cost of clinical negligence cases against Sheffield’s hospitals dropped by over £7 million last year, new figures have revealed.

Claims over treatment at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals cost £5.9m in damages and legal expenses in 2013/14, down from £13m in 2012/13.

More than £244,000 was paid out over claims at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, up slightly from £207,934 the previous year.

The two trusts also had big falls in their insurance premiums paid into a central pot held by the NHS Litigation Authority, which published the statistics.

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Sheffield Teaching Hospitals paid out £10.3m, 20 per cent less than the previous year, while the children’s hospital had a reduction in payments of a third to £950,000.

The reductions come after a change in the way indemnity cover is priced. Organisations with fewer and less costly claims pay less as part of efforts to improve patient safety and cut claims.

Rob Wilson, deputy director of finance at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: “All large trusts pay an insurance premium against clinical negligence claims to the litigation authority.

“For two years running, our premiums have been reduced because the number of claims made against the trust has been significantly lower than anticipated for a trust of our size. Our staff work exceptionally hard to provide high quality, safe care and this is just one indicator which reflects this.”

Elsewhere in South Yorkshire, Barnsley Hospital’s payments to the litigation authority went up 22 per cent to £5.1m.

A spokesman for the trust said: “The hospital’s position is that this is not a reflection of our clinical safety, which is our utmost priority. Our premiums are still comparable with those of many other NHS trusts.”

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals received 166 new clinical negligence claims in 2013/14, up from 118 in 2012-13. The children’s hospital received 10, three more than in 2012/13.