£40m per year in negligence payouts cannot remain the norm - Bradshaw

Alliance Health Spokesperson Paula Bradshaw has said that £30-£40 million payouts every year for medical negligence cannot simply remain the norm, after figures showed that last year the figure exceeded £40m.

Health Paula Bradshaw
The South Belfast MLA stated: “It is concerning that an annual bill of in excess of £30 million every year to settle negligence cases across Northern Ireland has simply been accepted, with no indication of a strategy for improvement which will reduce this figure and, most importantly, enhance services to the public so that fewer cases are necessary.
“Last year’s publication of the review of the Serious Adverse Incident (SAI) process should have been a serious wake-up call. The review demonstrated that there has been no improvement at all arising from SAIs since 2009, rendering reviews almost pointless.
“It seems across the service there is too much fear of being able to come forward and report safely where negligence occurs or is becoming likely, a point also raised in the Independent Neurology Inquiry.
“Serious questions have to be raised about why nothing seems to be learned from all these reviews and inquiries. If patient safety and service improvement were prioritised, the annual payouts for negligence would be demonstrably decreasing.
“£40.2 million is a lot to lose from a budget in current circumstances and it shows, just as various reviews and inquiries have stated, that patient safety is not being adequately prioritised. We need to see fundamental change now so that problems are identified in advance and fewer negligence cases need to be taken.”