Figures show there has been a rise in the number of compensation claims for clinical negligence by the NHS.

Data revealed by the Conservative Party shows the number of claims rose by 11 per cent in 2008-09 while the total amount paid out by the NHS also rose.

The annual report of the NHS Litigation Authority shows in 2006-07 the NHS spent £613m, rising to £661m in 2007-08, and £807m in 2008-09.

Amounts paid out include damages to claimants (patients, staff and members of the public) and the legal costs incurred on both sides where these are paid by the NHS.

The report said: “Total claims expenditure across all schemes in 2008-9 increased by over 22 per cent compared with the same period last year.”

The report also reveals that in 2008-09 there was “a significant increase in the number of claims received, compared with the same period last year” and that “clinical claims rose by more than 11 per cent and non-clinical claims by over 10 per cent”.

However, of the 8,885 clinical and non-clinical claims made in 2008-09, less than 4 per cent will go to court. The NHS has been unable to identify any single factor that might have caused the rise.