Clinical negligence claims have cost the NHS £2.6bn over the past three years, with payout costs almost doubling in the past year, latest figures have shown.

Data from the NHS Litigation Authority released to Parliament show that more than £1bn of costs were settled during 2010-11 alone. The amount paid out in damages for clinical negligence totalled £499.5m, while claims worth a further £547.3m were settled to be paid out through “periodical payment orders”.

The NHSLA figures show that the payouts in 2010-11 were worth almost double the equivalent figure for a year earlier.

The authority paid out £278m in damages for 2008-09, and £267m in 2009-10. However, the figures for periodical payment orders have remained more stable, totalling £552m in 2008-09, £504m in 2009-10 and £547m in 2010-11.

The findings come after HSJ highlighted the increasing costs of litigation, with George Eliot Hospital Trust in Warwickshire reporting a 92 per cent year on year rise in the number of clinical negligence cases brought against it during 2010-11.

In all £1.04bn was paid out in damages claims for the three financial years to the end of 2010-11. The value of periodical payments settled over the same period totalled £1.6bn.

Average damages have not changed significantly in the past three years.

However, overall defence costs and claimant costs have risen sharply. For claims settled with damages payouts, defence costs have risen from £35.9m in a year to £59.7m, while claimant costs have more than doubled, from £95.9m to £192.5m.