Welsh Conservatives slam the ‘staggering’ £600+ million allocated to cover the cost of clinical negligence and personal injury Welsh NHS claims.
The most recent figures indicate the Welsh Government have provisioned £682m to Welsh Risk Pool Services – the organisation responsible for reimbursing Welsh NHS bodies for losses in excess of £25,000.
The Tories are now strongly pressing for an “urgent inquiry into its medical practices”.
By contrast, the Welsh Government say that the last financial year wrought payouts totalling £74.6m. Additionally, the £682m figure is on hand “to cover the amount that we may need to be pay over many years.”
MPs counter by pointing out that a far better way to address risks inherent in healthcare is to improve cleaning and training, rather than provisioning money for foreseen failure.
Tories: Personal Injury Welsh NHS allocation is ‘staggering’
Angela Burns, the Conservative health spokeswoman described the amount set aside as “staggering.”
“Risk is, of course, inherent in medical practice. But there are measures you can take to mitigate against aggravating that risk.”
Burns cites that the procedures “should include better cleaning practices” to do the following.
- Minimise surgical infections;
- Improve workforce planning to ease individual pressures, and;
- Continue training opportunities.
“The Welsh Labour Government should instigate an urgent inquiry into its medical practices…(They need to) ascertain why we’re seeing such a rise in claims against the health service. Additionally, they need to put measures in place to prevent harm from arising in the first place.”
The Welsh Government responds
A spokeswoman for the Welsh Government responds that “the actual figure in the last financial year was £74.6m”. They also remind that the £682m covers payouts to previous claims that could require paying out in the future. Additionally, they reject Tory claims of irresponsible budget allocation.
“We strongly reject the criticism that it is irresponsible of the NHS in Wales to do this. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people receive high-quality, safe care in Wales.
“With an increasingly complicated and modern healthcare system, problems can unfortunately happen. But it is important that both the NHS workforce and patients to report all incidents. That way, we can open investigations and learn important lessons.”
The Tories, however, maintain that NHS workers lack adequate resources and staffing. Moreover, they say such “enormous pay-outs” are a clear “reflection of the immense pressures of the overstretching of the workforce, who lack the resources and staffing” at this time.
It remains to be seen whether any new measures will be brought in to help the Welsh NHS avoid clinical negligence claims. But the amount of money set aside in anticipation of such incidents would seem to indicate not.