Homerton University Hospital in Lower Clapton

Payouts for past mistakes at Homerton Hospital have cost the NHS more than £27 million over the last five years, according to research by the BBC.

NHS Resolution paid out more than £17.4 million in damages and £9.6 million in legal costs between 2012 and 2017 for historical mistakes at Homerton Hospital.

The payouts are for medical negligence claims dating back from after 1995, with annual cost rising to more than £6.3 million in 2016/17.

A spokesperson for Homerton Hospital said the £27 million was the lowest sum for any London NHS hospital with a maternity unit, and that the Trust takes “all possible steps” to avoid medical errors.

The cost of medical negligence claims against public hospitals in England, which are handled by NHS Resoution, has risen four-fold in the last ten years to £1.6 billion in 2016/17, according to the National Audit Office.

An inquiry by the Public Accounts Committee in November 2017 warned that pressures on the NHS could see the litigation bill “spiralling out of control without effective action”.

A spokesperson for Homerton Hospital said: “NHS Resolution has paid out £27 million in legal actions involving Homerton Hospital over the past five years.

“Although a substantial sum in total, this figure is the lowest attributed to any similar NHS hospital trust (with a maternity unit) in London during this period – and this, despite the fact that over 40 per cent of the 5,000 plus mothers who give birth at Homerton’s maternity department each year are deemed to be high risk.

“Our status as a highly specialised neonatal intensive care service also means that we treat some of the most complex and complicated deliveries and sickest babies in north-east London and Essex.”

They added: “We take all possible steps to minimise the occurrence of incidents that might result in a claim but mistakes do happen and we have procedures in place to learn lessons so these mistakes don’t reoccur.

“We also do what we can to help resolve outstanding claims as quickly as possible. The Trust recognises that each and every individual case which has been settled in court involves loss or harm to patients and their families, and we apologise to every one of them.”

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