The compensation bill for mistakes in the NHS in the north east reached over £100 million over the last two years, according to official data.
Figures indicate that clinical negligence claims reached a total of £108,367,7062 in 2014/15 and 2015/16.
This represents a significant rise over the £78 million that was paid out over the two previous financial years.
Hospital leaders responded to the figures by stating that the complex medical cases that the north east NHS region has been forced to deal with should be considered in assessing the amounts involved.
Some trusts also stated that claims can take several years to resolve, and as such the increase in claims did not necessarily reflect a similar increase in number.
Data was obtained from the NHS Litigation Authority, recently rebranded NHS Resolution.
Responding to the issue, several trusts provided spokespersons to comment on the apparent rise in litigation.
A spokesperson on behalf of County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, pointed to the complexity and time involved with resolving many claims.
“Due to their complexity, some claims can take several years to be resolved. As a result, the figure reported for CDDFT for 2015/16 doesn’t reflect an increase in claims during that time period.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust cited the amount of complex surgery that the trust is involved with, due to its unique capabilities.
“As one of the largest NHS Trusts in the UK, offering a wide range of specialist services, we are involved in many complex medical cases each year. As can be expected figures fluctuate each year and are comparable to Trusts of similar size and complexity.”
And a spokesperson from City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust stated that it particularly prioritised quality treatment.
“As a trust we treat thousands of people every year, from minor injuries to highly complex medical issues. Our first and absolute priority is to provide the highest standards of care to all of our patients and the feedback that we receive shows that in the majority of cases, we do this very well.”
In the UK alone the NHS treats one-million people every 36 hours and carried out 10.5 million operations in 2012/2013.
In 2013/14, the NHS set aside £22.7 billion in order to cover medical negligence liabilities.