Welsh Assembly members have called for a 'drastic' improvement in management systems to reduce clinical negligence.

The call comes after the Assembly's audit committee examined a report by the auditor general for Wales on clinical negligence in the NHS, which estimated the future cost of open claims at£111m. The figure has quadrupled over the past four years.

In its own report, the committee says: 'We find it alarming that these costs are both significant and rising rapidly. Every pound spent on clinical negligence is a pound less for patient care.'

And it adds: 'Given the scale of the problem, we found it startling that the NHS, at both the Assembly and trust level, had relatively little usable, accessible management information on clinical negligence.'

Some trusts were 'unable to provide' basic information on the number and value of outstanding claims against them or the outcome of claims closed in 19992000. The committee was particularly concerned about the lack of information that could help prevent future incidents.

Committee chair Janet Davies said: 'Management systems to identify and reduce clinical negligence incidents must be improved drastically.'