NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 10, 2008

The United Kingdom's National Health Service is being sued for tens of millions of pounds in damages over bugs picked up in hospitals, says the Manchester Guardian:

  • Almost £7.5 million (about U.S. $14.8 million) has already been paid out to more than 100 victims of the superbug MRSA and the Clostridium-difficile (C-diff) infection.
  • A backlog of hundreds more claims are yet to be settled.
  • The NHS Litigation Authority has set aside a reserve fund of nearly £42 million (about U.S. $83 million) to cover potential payouts and associated costs.

At the beginning of 2008, 107 patients or their families had successfully sued the health service over infections picked up on NHS wards:

  • Their compensation packages totaled £7,485,094 (about U.S. $14.8 million) -- an average payout of about £70,000 (about U.S. $138,220).
  • Another 243 claims were awaiting resolution, but the reserve for damages and costs stood at £41,561,568 (about U.S. $82.1 million).

However, less than half of settled claims have so far resulted in financial redress, says the Guardian.  Some 180 have been closed without payment of damages.

The number of people claiming for clinical negligence in relation to MRSA and C-diff is continuing to rise each year:

  • The number of claims has risen every year since 1999/2000, when there were only two.
  • By 2006/7, the number of victims taking legal action had reached 128.
  • In the first two thirds of 2007/8, the figure was proportionately higher still -- at 110.

Source: "NHS 'Sued For Millions' Over Bugs," Manchester Guardian, July 7, 2008.


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