Trust pays £8m for negligence

Derry Journal - online and in print on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.
Derry Journal - online and in print on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.

The Western Health and Social Care Trust (WHSCT) has paid out more than £8m in settlements for medical negligence in the last five years.

Figures released in the Stormont Assembly reveal that between April 1 2008 and the end of March 2013, WHSCT settled more than 170 cases of clinical and social care negligence - at a cost of £8.21million.

In a statement of response to the ‘Journal’ in relation to the matter, a WHSCT spokeswoman said the Trust takes the “health and safety of our patients, clients and staff very seriously.

“Yet this is set against the context where no health and social care system can ever guarantee to be risk or error free.

“Where an error occurs it is important that the affected person is compensated for any harm or loss that they have suffered.”

The Trust is committed to maintaining the highest standards of care, the spokeswoman said.

“The Trust proactively manages health and social care risks and takes appropriate action to ensure that where learning is identified as a result of claims investigation, this is brought to the attention of relevant staff and appropriate action is taken to prevent recurrence.

“The Trust continues to make every effort to ensure the highest standards of care are provided to our patients and clients,” she said.

The figures, revealed in response to an Assembly question asked by SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood, reveal the settled negligence cases over the last five years cost a a total of £5.338million plus almost £3million in legal costs.