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Lawyers Bleeding NHS Dry

Sunday Mirror Newspaper - August 2014

A whistleblower contacted us after discovering that lawyers had taken a THIRD of all the compensation money paid out by the already-overstretched NHS.
In total, last year, £350 million was netted by law firms. Of that £259 million went to lawyers fighting cases on behalf of their patients.
The whistleblower obtained the figures from a freedom of information act after being unhappy with the service provided by the NHS to a relative.
Read the full story here:
 LAWYERS are pocketing almost a third of the cash paid in compensation claims by the NHS each year.Shocking new data obtained by the Sunday Mirror reveals that out of the Pounds 1.19billion paid in 2013-14, more than Pounds 350million went on legal fees.

Of that, Pounds 259million went to law firms fighting cases on behalf of patients and their families. The other Pounds 92million was paid to lawyers defending claims on behalf of the NHS.

The figures, obtained using a Freedom of Information Act request, reveal the system is increasingly benefiting law firms rather than patients.

In many cases legal fees dwarf the compensation paid because claims take so long to settle.

Recently a family received Pounds 2,000 after a loved one died from an infection in hospital - while their solicitors received Pounds 61,000 in fees from the NHS. In another case a family was paid Pounds 1,000 while the legal bill totalled Pounds 31,000.

Campaigner Julie Bailey, who lifted the lid on the Stafford Hospital scandal, said she was shocked by the figures. "The NHS continually tells us that it has limited resources," she said. "But if it stopped harming patients these figures indicate the NHS could save a fortune. Patient safety must become the priority immediately."

It is estimated around 6,700 claims are made each year against the NHS, paid out of its annual budget of Pounds 95billion. The NHS Litigation Authority said there had been a rise in negligence claims of almost 18 per cent over the past year. Chief Executive Catherine Dixon said: "It is our priority to ensure that when a patient has been harmed by the NHS they are, to the extent we are able, compensated for harm they suffer."

Hugh Williams, from Action Against Medical Accidents, said: "We continue to see a large number of calls and are concerned that there is huge pressure on NHS resources at the moment."LAWYERS are pocketing almost a third of the cash paid in compensation claims by the NHS each year.

Shocking new data obtained by the Sunday Mirror reveals that out of the Pounds 1.19billion paid in 2013-14, more than Pounds 350million went on legal fees.

Of that, Pounds 259million went to law firms fighting cases on behalf of patients and their families. The other Pounds 92million was paid to lawyers defending claims on behalf of the NHS.

The figures, obtained using a Freedom of Information Act request, reveal the system is increasingly benefiting law firms rather than patients.

In many cases legal fees dwarf the compensation paid because claims take so long to settle.

Recently a family received Pounds 2,000 after a loved one died from an infection in hospital - while their solicitors received Pounds 61,000 in fees from the NHS. In another case a family was paid Pounds 1,000 while the legal bill totalled Pounds 31,000.

Campaigner Julie Bailey, who lifted the lid on the Stafford Hospital scandal, said she was shocked by the figures. "The NHS continually tells us that it has limited resources," she said. "But if it stopped harming patients these figures indicate the NHS could save a fortune. Patient safety must become the priority immediately."

It is estimated around 6,700 claims are made each year against the NHS, paid out of its annual budget of Pounds 95billion. The NHS Litigation Authority said there had been a rise in negligence claims of almost 18 per cent over the past year. Chief Executive Catherine Dixon said: "It is our priority to ensure that when a patient has been harmed by the NHS they are, to the extent we are able, compensated for harm they suffer."

Hugh Williams, from Action Against Medical Accidents, said: "We continue to see a large number of calls and are concerned that there is huge pressure on NHS resources at the moment."