Southern Trust pays out £6 million on negligence cases

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Negligence cases against the Southern Health and Social Care Trust cost the taxpayer over £6 million in the last financial year, according to the latest figures.

The number of clinical/social care negligence cases open against the Southern Trust has been steadily increasing over the past five years, the figures also revealed.

The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety published statistics collected from Health & Social Care (HSC) Trusts, Agencies and Legacy Health and Social Services (HSS) Boards on all clinical/social care negligence cases in NI open during the year ending March 31, 2015.

In the Southern Trust there were 507 cases open during the period (up 162 on five years ago when there were 345 cases).

Figures over the preceding years were as follows: 2011-12 384 cases, 2012-13 421 and 2013/14 465.

It should be noted that if a case was opened in one year and not subsequently closed at the end of the year it is counted during each year it was open.

The figures also show spending on settling cases, the first time such information has been provided.

In the Southern Trust area a total of £6,366,389 was spent on cases.

The sum breaks down as £4,641,224 on damages paid, £528,897 on defence costs paid and £1,196,455 on plaintiff costs paid.

It placed the Trust in the bottom half of the table for payouts across five trusts, the Legacy HSS Boards and the Ambulance/Blood Transfusion Services.

Belfast had the highest costs of £9,155,816 follwoed by the legacy boards with just over £7 million and the South Eastern Board on just over £5m.

In total during 14/15, £41.4 million was paid on clinical/social care negligence cases in NI.

During 2014/15, 3,601 clinical/social care negligence cases were open at any stage, an increase of 366 (11.3%), from 3,235 during 2010/11.

In 2014/15, 752 new cases were opened, 689 cases were closed, whilst 2,721 cases remained open and 191 cases had been settled at 31st March 2015.

The average clinical/social care negligence case open in 14/15 had been open for 2.6 years.

Over half (56.0%, 2,016) of all clinical/social care negligence cases referred to the following four specialties; ‘Obstetrics’ (626), ‘Accident & Emergency’ (623), ‘General Surgery’ (384) and ‘Trauma and Orthopaedics’ .