NHS hospitals must brace themselves for an ‘explosion’ in medical negligence claims in the aftermath of the report into the Mid Staffordshire scandal, a leading lawyer in the sector has said.

Tim Gorman, partner at clinical negligence firm Axiclaim, said last month’s publication of the Francis report has removed a mental barrier for victims thinking about bringing a claim.

The public inquiry into the scandal found at least 1,200 patients had died due to poor care and mismanagement at Stafford Hospital.

Gorman said: ‘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. The shocking findings of the Francis report have now made hospitals fair game in the eyes of the public. We expect to see an explosion in the number of victims coming forward.’

A spokesman for the NHS Litigation Authority, which defends hospitals in England against clinical negligence claims, said there had been an increase in claims against the NHS in recent years, but there had yet to be any spike following the Mid Staffordshire report.

He added: ‘We are experts at helping to resolve such claims and operate efficiently to ensure justified claims are paid promptly and less meritorious claims are defended.’