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Monday, 22 September 2014

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£2m compensation paid

PATIENTS at North Cumbria’s two hospitals were paid £2m compensation in a year for medical blunders.

The figure is almost half that paid out two years ago when the hospital trust had one of the highest total pay-outs in England and Wales.

Figures from the NHS Litigation Authority, which processes claims against hospitals, was unable to give details of individual complaints or payments, but said there had been 70 complaints referred to them for clinical negligence during the year, and 17 non-clinical.

A total of £2,087,511 was paid out by the litigation authority for medical cases, and £225,574 for non-medical, such as loss or theft of property on hospital grounds.

Of the medical claims, eight were for maternity matters, with £657,540 paid out.

The figures are for 2010/11 and will not include recent cases against the trust, including the 16 women who are taking legal action over problems with the breast screening service in 2010. All of the women have concerns relating to delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis.

The trust’s routine breast screening service, which sees women called for regular mammograms, was suspended in July 2010 because of concern that cases of cancer may have been undetected.

An investigation was launched and 1,600 tests were reviewed.

Dozens of women were recalled for further checks, and it was found that 16 women had been wrongly given the all-clear.

The breast screening service, which is now overseen by experts in Newcastle, was restarted in the Whitehaven and Carlisle hospitals in January.

Health service managers said that it will be the end of 2012 before they have caught up with all the routine mammograms that were missed.

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