York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust paid £4.7 million in damages to patients for failures to diagnose and delayed diagnoses in 2017, according to new figures.

That means it tops the list of NHS Trusts with the highest pay-outs for this type of medical negligence.

But the trust argues that it is unfair to create a league table like this – as each settlement relates to a personal loss and therefore you can’t draw comparisons.

16 successful claims

Photograph © DarkoStojanovic

According to the latest official figures on cases of failure to diagnose and delayed diagnoses, the York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has had to pay out £4,738,612.01 in damages alone over the past financial year.

The statistics were obtained following a Freedom of Information request submitted by specialist solicitors Bolt Burdon Kemp.

They show that the York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust had a total of 16 successful claims brought against it over the period in question.

However, despite the high amount paid in damages, the number of individual claims successfully settled against the trust (16) is lower than the average number of successful claims (18.4) settled by the other NHS trusts named in the list.

The figures also show that Yorkshire and The Humber tops the list of regions with £15 million paid out, almost twice as much as the Midlands which came second with £8.8 million paid out in damages.

5 worst performing NHS Trusts based on damages paid out in 2016/2017
 TrustRegionAmount paid out
1York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation TrustNorth Yorkshire£4.7 million
2St. Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS TrustMerseyside£4.5 million
3Stockport NHS Foundation TrustGreater Manchester£3.5 million
4Royal Free London NHS Foundation TrustLondon£2.8 million
5The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS TrustWest Yorkshire£2.6 million
Source: Bolt Burdon Kemp solicitors

The terminology

The NHS separates diagnosis claims into two categories. The first, wrong diagnosis, is when a patient is given an incorrect diagnosis by a doctor or health professional.

The second, failure to diagnose or delayed diagnosis, is when a doctor doesn’t give any diagnosis at all, or makes one too late.

‘Safe care our priority’

Photograph: York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust / Facebook

A spokesperson for York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said:

Safe, compassionate care is our upmost priority. When things go wrong, as regrettably they do in all healthcare settings, our first responsibility is to those affected.

As is the case for other NHS trusts, we have indemnity through NHS Resolution which covers the cost of paying out for a successful clinical negligence claim.

We work closely with NHS Resolution and the wider NHS to actively learn lessons from serious incidents, complaints and claims of clinical negligence.

The trust settles claims relating to a wide variety of incidents and the value of damages is person specific as it relates to their personal loss – and therefore is not comparative.

The spokesperson also pointed out that the number of individual claims successfully settled against the trust is lower than the average number of successful claims settled by other NHS Trusts for failed or delayed diagnosis.