Legal cases at Altnagelvin cost £12.75m in settlements

Altnagelvin Hospital.
Altnagelvin Hospital.

Former patients of Altnagelvin hospital cost the Western Trust £12.75m in case settlements over the past five years, it’s emerged.

Health Minister Michelle O’Neill revealed a hundred and seventy two legal cases taken by patients of the Derry hospital were settled between 2011/12 and 2015/16.

Last year just £600,000 was paid out to settle 23 cases but in 2013/14 an eye-watering £7.7m was required to settle 44 cases.

Generally, settlements cost the Trust much less.

In 2011/12, £2.15m settled 29 cases; in 2012/13, £1.2m settled 39 cases and in 2014/15, £1.1m settled 37 cases.

During the same five years seven legal cases were also settled at Gransha hospital in the city.

In most of these instances no cost was registered as having been incurred by the Western Trust although two cases were settled in 2011/12 at a total cost of £30,000.

And at the Waterside Hospital there were only two such cases. These occurred last year and no awards were made.

Separately, the Minister revealed the number of clinical and social care negligence cases that were closed with damages paid in the Western Trust in the last three years.

Eighteen cases were closed in 2013/14; 29 in 2014/15; and 24 in 2015/16: 71 cases in total.

The total amount of money paid out in legal settlements across the entire health system in the North over the past five years was breath-taking.

In total, 1,827 legal cases were settled at a total cost of £120,200,000, over a fifth of the Western Trust’s entire annual budget.

In 2011/12, 311 legal cases were settled at a cost of £18m.

This rose to 373 cases settled at a cost of £20.6m in 2012/13 before peaking at 377 cases and £38.5m in pay outs in 2013/4.

Three hundred and eighty cases were settled across the North in 2014/15 at a cost of £28m

There were 386 cases settled in 2015/16 at a cost of £15.1m to the public purse.