The NHS has set aside £1.3 billion to cover Covid compensation payments, it was claimed today.
An annual report from NHS Resolution, the organization that handles malpractice disputes on behalf of the health service, anticipates an increase in claims for treatment delays, cancellations and misdiagnosis.
Families are already contacting law firms to seek compensation after losing loved ones during the pandemic.
Activists have also warned that the figure “may not be enough.”
An annual report from NHS Resolution, which handles malpractice disputes on behalf of the health service, anticipates an increase in claims for treatment delays, cancellations and misdiagnosis. The graph shows how much the NHS has paid out in claims over the last decade
Jackie Linehan, legal director of malpractice specialists Enable Law, represents the family of a man who died in June 2020 after his urgent heart surgery was delayed several months.
she told the daily telegraph: ‘We anticipate that the number of claims related to preventable deaths and injuries will increase due to delays in treatment throughout 2020 and 2021.
“Many people are just realizing the consequences of not being seen much sooner.”
The NHS compensation system, which costs the taxpayer around £2bn each year, is “not fit for purpose”, MPs warned earlier this year. The graph breaks down the fees paid
Nurses’ strikes will hit us hard… but patients will NOT have surgery canceled at the last minute, say NHS bosses
Patients will not have procedures canceled at the last minute because of nurse strikes, but care will have to be postponed, the NHS chief has warned.
Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of England’s NHS, told lawmakers she could not confirm how far in advance patients would be notified of any changes to their upcoming treatment.
Addressing the public accounts committee, he said efforts would be made to inform them ‘sooner rather than later’.
Mike Prentice, national director of emergency, planning and incident response for England’s NHS, sent a letter to hospitals and care providers yesterday, warning that strikes could result in urgent surgeries, chemotherapy and kidney dialysis being postponed.
Time-critical services for seriously ill patients may also be reduced or stopped, the letter warned.
Ms Pritchard admitted to MPs that the NHS did not expect to hit a major cancer target by March. She said an increase in the number of patients coming in for cancer checks meant it would no longer be possible to guarantee that the number waiting more than 62 days to start treatment after urgent referral would return to pre-pandemic levels. then.
Ms Pritchard said: “We have been off target and off course.”
Professor Gordon Wishart, Check4Cancer’s chief medical officer, told the newspaper: “The fact that the NHS Resolution has set aside £1.3bn for future clinical malpractice claims is recognition that the unintended consequences of Covid restrictions will continue for some time, and that these claims are likely to be successful.
“Given the current scale of excess deaths from many conditions, including cancer and cardiovascular disease, £1.3bn may not be enough.”
NHS Resolution said the boat was for ‘new Covid risks and potential claims’.
The £1.3bn figure has been allocated for 2021/22, with £470m expected to be spent on claims related to Covid treatment, up from £350m in the first year of the pandemic .
Around £610m has been set aside for claims related to misdiagnosis and treatment delays due to the pandemic, up from £210 a year earlier.
The remaining £220m is expected to cover claims relating to Covid vaccinations, employee liability and nursing homes.
NHS Resolution admitted in its annual report that the total sum is “quite limited” because services were not disrupted as much in 2021/22 and most claims relate to maternity services which operated largely as normal during the pandemic.
It said: “While a small number of Covid-related claims have been received, the impacts of Covid will take several years to fully materialize, due to the time it takes between incidents, claims and ultimately their resolution.”
“As a result, there is limited experience in quantifying the impacts of Covid on provisions and our estimates are subject to uncertainty.”
Pandemic-related claims are expected to focus on delays, cancellations, and misdiagnoses.
Thousands of patients saw their treatment postponed due to the pandemic.
It has created a huge backlog, with 7.1 million in the queue for September, which the NHS is struggling to overcome. Hundreds of thousands have waited for more than a year.
The delays are believed to be driving a rise in excess deaths, with thousands of patients dying because they have not received timely care, Health Secretary Steve Barclay admitted yesterday.
Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that England and Wales recorded around eight per cent more deaths this year compared to the pre-pandemic average.
Mr Barclay pointed to an increase in middle-aged people with heart problems at The Spectator Health Summit yesterday.
He said: ‘It’s the result of delays in that age group seeing the GP due to the pandemic, and in some cases not getting statins or hypertensives on time.
“When added to the delays in ambulance times, we see it reflected in the excess deaths.
“Over time, we may see a similar challenge in cancer data.”
Experts warned last week that England is already seeing a rise in cancer deaths due to pandemic-related delays.
Official figures show that up to 230 additional deaths from the disease are recorded weekly.
Professor Pat Price, a leading oncologist, has warned that the backlog of cancer cases is “the deadliest and most pressing of all” and that, if left unaddressed, there will be excess cancer deaths in the “coming years”.
The agency already pays around £2.2 billion a year in compensation and legal fees each year.
Seven out of 10 claims relate to maternity services, such as brain-damaged babies being born after negligent care.
NHS officials pay people who have been physically or mentally harmed by vaccinations from a separate pot.
Over 1,200 claims for compensation have been made to the UK Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme.
It entitles families to a payment of £120,000 if a loved one dies or is significantly disabled as a result of government-recommended punctures, not just Covid ones.
The first Covid vaccine payment went to Vikki Spit, the wife of rock musician Lord Zion, who died of a blood clot after her AstraZeneca puncture.