• February, 2009
  • Gidwani S
  • Zaidi SM
  • Bircher MD

Abstract

Payments by the NHS Litigation Authority continue to rise each year, and reflect an increase in successful claims for negligence against NHS Trusts. Information about the reasons for which Trusts are sued in the field of trauma and orthopaedic surgery is scarce. We analysed 130 consecutive cases of alleged clinical negligence in which the senior author had been requested to act as an expert witness between 2004 and 2006, and received information on the outcome of 97 concluded cases from the relevant solicitors. None of the 97 cases proceeded to a court hearing. Overall, 55% of cases were abandoned by the claimants’ solicitors, and the remaining 45% were settled out of court. The cases were settled for sums ranging from pound 4500 to pound 2.7 million, the median settlement being pound 45,000. The cases that were settled out of court were usually the result of delay in treatment or diagnosis, or because of substandard surgical technique.