Clinical negligence cases against the NHS increased by 18% in 2012/13, government figures have revealed.
Statistics compiled by the Department for Work and Pensions found there were 16,006 cases registered with the compensation recovery unit last year, compared with 13,517 for 2011/12.
The figures collate the number of claims where costs incurred by NHS hospitals and ambulance trusts are recovered from insurers.
The unit recovered £14.8m in total last year, compared with £13.9m the year before.
Ian Pryer, senior partner at medical negligence firm Axiclaim, said the number of cases is likely to increase further following the Francis report in the wake of the Mid-Staffs hospital scandal.
‘In the past, victims of medical accidents often had moral reservations about claiming against the NHS, despite having clearly suffered extreme negligence in some cases,’ said Pryer.
‘But the shocking findings of the Francis report have now made hospitals fair game in the eyes of the public.’
The clinical negligence sector is facing a year of change, with talks ongoing over a fixed costs pilot and the prospect of personal injury lawyers, displaced by the effect of civil justice reforms, moving into the field.
The Gazette understands there has been little progress in talks between the NHS Litigation Authority, Ministry of Justice and various legal representative groups about a fixed costs regime.
Meanwhile, the 10 defendant firms previously on the NHSLA’s clinical negligence panel have successfully applied to be on the new panel.
Bevan Brittan, Browne Jacobson, Capsticks, Clyde & Co, DAC Beachcroft, Hempsons, Hill Dickinson, Kennedys, Ward Hadaway and Weightmans – along with new entrant Berrymans Lace Mawer – will share a contract worth around £320m over the next four years.