This is how much South Tyneside and Sunderland hospitals paid to settle legal claims over diagnosis

Freedom of Information (FOI) figures suggest the newly-formed South Tyneside and Sunderland health trust settled one of the highest number of claims nationwide in the last year for diagnosis errors.

Monday, 25th November 2019, 11:56 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 5:55 am

The newly-released data reveals that South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust paid out nearly £5.6m during 2018-19 as a result of 27 cases relating to either wrongful, delayed or failed diagnosis.

The figure is thought to include claims dating back to before it was created earlier this year.

The trust says it has a “culture of openness and honesty” so that it can “actively seek to learn and understand” from the “rare occasion that an incident occurs”.

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Sunderland Royal Hospital is part of the newly-formed South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.

While it appears fifth highest in a table for the number of liable claims nationwide, the £5,565,569 paid out placed it outside the top 10 for the amount of money paid out by individual health trusts or organisations.

In total, the NHS was to blame for 1,441 cases relating to wrongful, failed or delayed diagnosis in the last financial year – 348 fewer than for 2017-18 - costing £370 million compared to the previous year’s £655m.

Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, formerly Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, was liable for the highest number of claims, 35, paying out £4,656,708.

The Department of Health paid out the most money, £21,021,729, after settling 22 claims.

South Tyneside District Hospital is also part of the newly-formed trust.

Vince Shore, head of clinical negligence at Hudgell Solicitors, which obtained the FOI data, said: “Although the amount being paid out on settled claims relating to misdiagnosis is up from 2013-14, it’s great to see the figure has fallen so sharply over the last 12 months.

“Having said that, it’s a concern that the NHS is spending the equivalent amount it would take to train over 5,000 nurses or seven GPs on misdiagnosis errors.”

Melanie Johnson, South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust’s executive director of nursing, midwifery and allied professionals, said: “Our absolute priority is always to provide safe, compassionate, high quality care and we are proud that this is the case for the vast majority of our patients.

“All staff are encouraged to report incidents no matter how small and we promote a culture of openness and honesty so that on the rare occasion that an incident occurs, we can actively seek to learn and understand what went wrong and make any necessary improvements.”