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28 June 2017

Legal fees paid by NHS to personal injury lawyers rocket to £418m

Fees paid by the NHS to personal injury lawyers has rocketed 80 per cent in a year and is almost four-times greater than the increase in payouts to patients involved in their cases.

Cathy Yeulet

The top five companies received £107.8 million of NHS cash in 2015/16 - up 49 per cent from the previous 12 months. Leigh Day which was recently cleared of wrongdoing over its pursuit of British soldiers in Iraq, had an 80 per cent increase at £12.4 million.

Concerns

Joyce Robins, from Patient Concern, was quoted as saying: ‘How can it be right for lawyers to line their pockets at the expense of the NHS?’ The figures from the NHS Litigation Authority revealed that total legal fees in the year came to £418 million representing one third of the service’s £1.5 billion negligence bill. And, in the same period, compensation to patients rose by 23 per cent from £774.4 million to £950.4 million. Miss Robins added: ‘How can it be right for lawyers to line their pockets at the expense of the NHS?’

'Unacceptable number of mistakes'

However, Peter Walsh from Action Against Medical Accidents said that the legal costs rose due to ‘the unacceptable number or mistakes’ and ‘inappropriate denials and defence of claims that should have been recognised as valid earlier’which amounted to ‘either an ignorant or cynical attack on access to justice for injured patients’.

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