KGH’s litigation costs revealed

Kettering General Hospital
Kettering General Hospital

Patients were awarded almost £4m in claims against Kettering General Hospital in 2012-13, figures from the NHS Litigation Authority have revealed.

The figure, £3,976,397, rises to almost £5.3m after defence and prosecution costs were taken into consideration.

Kettering General Hospital says the figures do not directly relate to the amounts paid to patients, as the hospital pays an annual sum into an insurance scheme called the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts which is run by the NHS Litigation Authority.

Hospital chief executive Fiona Wise said: “Kettering General Hospital takes patient safety extremely seriously and we work very hard at a number of levels to maintain the very high standards demanded of NHS organisations.

“We monitor safety incidents of every kind and scrutinise any trends at board level.

“We log and investigate all incidents and encourage our staff to report them. We have safe systems of work so that all staff know the safest way to look after our patients.

“In addition we aim to develop a strong safety culture within the organisation through frequent internal campaigns around potential harms.

“Where mistakes are made we aim to learn from them and the NHS Litigation Authority ensures that any legal claims are settled fairly.”

According to the figures, Kettering General Hospital Trust faced 40 claims for negligence during 2012-13.

The 2012-13 figures represented a drop on the previous year’s sums, which were £5,726,333 in damages, and £7,462,022 including costs in 2011-12.

However, the hospital said that litigation costs cannot be compared on a year-by-year basis.

A spokesman said: “The litigation figures relate to claims settled in a particular year.

“However, the claims may have originated in many different years – some complex claims taking many years to be settled.

“Therefore the amount settled in any particular year is not a good measure of the safety of an organisation.

“The NHS Litigation Authority aims to resolve disputes fairly, share learning about risks and standards in the NHS and help to improve safety for patients and staff.”

In 2010-11 Kettering General Hospital launched an internal patient safety campaign, which included safety walk-arounds, and management placing an emphasis on safety in staff training and campaigns to reduce the risk of accidental patient falls.