FINANCE: George Eliot Hospital Trust recorded a 92 per cent increase in the number of medico legal claims against it in 2010-11 compared with the previous year.

The total of 50 claims compared with 26 in 2009-10, and accounted for most of the total of 61 claims brought against the trust in 2010-11.

The rise is well above the national trend – the trust’s board papers note that “all trusts have been advised by the NHS Litigation Authority that claim numbers have risen markedly in recent years with an increase of approximately 11 per cent [between] 2008-2009 and 2009-10 followed by a forecast 29 per cent for clinical claims in 2010-11.

Forty-four claims were closed during 2010-11, of which 19 were settled. One resulted in a new operation policy for accident and emergency, and another led to a new policy being agreed by the trust’s thrombosis committee.

There were also three public liability claims for slips and trips, and eight employers’ liability claims.

The cost of the latter appears to be increasing. Five cases were settled, at a cost of £226,203. In 2009-2010, six such cases were settled at a cost of £73,217.

The trust will have to pay £2.9m to the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts, an increase of 23 per cent on last year.

The cost of George Eliot to the NHS Litigation Authority totalled £3.7m in 2009-10. Figures for 2010-11 are not yet available.

However the NHSLA is expecting an increase in litigation costs of 10 per cent year on year due to the rise of “no-win-no-fee” representation.