Personal injury lawyers blamed for soaring NHS negligence bill

Solicitors acting for patients on clinical negligence claims have been accused by the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) of causing NHS payouts to more than double in the past four years from £40.9 million to £90.7 million.

The surge in payments comes despite the number of settled cases remaining almost static between 2003-4 and and 2007/08 at around 6000 per year.

The NHSLA blames the rise on the growing preference for no win, no fee claims as a result of stricter condition for gaining legal aid. About half of clinical negligence claims are now conducted on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis compared with less than a fifth in 2000. Under such arrangements, patients can agree on a success fee of up 100% with their clinical negligence solicitor, the cost of which is passed on to the NHS.

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