A Teesside newspaper is reporting that a local family has waited eighteen years for a claim for clinical negligence compensation to be resolved.
According to GazetteLive.co.uk, the unnamed Teesside family has been waiting since 1998 for a claim for clinical negligence compensation to be resolved. The claim relates to alleged avoidable birth injuries suffered by their child during his delivery at a hospital within the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.
The paper states that this claim for clinical negligence compensation is the second-longest on record since the Clinical Negligence Scheme was set up for incidents that occurred since 1995, and that the NHS Trust has a contender for the third-longest claim on record – as another claim for clinical negligence compensation is still unresolved sixteen years after the alleged negligent event.
Mitigating circumstances for the delay are offered by the newspaper. It suggests that the extent of the child´s birth injuries and their future needs may not be fully apparent, and that the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) – the body responsible for settling clinical negligence claims – may have been making interim compensation payments while the claim remains unresolved.
However, the news of such a lengthy delay in settling the claim comes less than two months after the NHSLA was criticised for defending claims for clinical negligence longer than necessary. Stephen Webber – chair of the Society of Clinical Injury Lawyers – said that the unnecessary delays caused the victims´ families preventable upset and inflated legal costs increased the burden on the taxpayer.
In respect of the delay experienced by the Teesside family, Deepak Dwarakanath – the Medical Director at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust – told GazetteLive: “Claims are managed by the NHSLA on our behalf and their focus is on bringing resolution as quickly as possible to support families. Some birth injury claims may not be received for many years and can be extremely complex”.
He continued: “Payments and settlements for birth injuries generally have a lump sum payment followed by annual periodical payments over the life of the child. Once settled those cases with periodical payments are not closed down by the NHSLA until all payments are completed, which is why they continue to appear on the information shared.”