The government has been forced to create a £185million emergency bailout fund for the NHS after a significant rise in negligence claims.
£185m has been given to the NHS Litigation Authority until April to cover the cost of claims and legal fees.
The authority is primarily funded from trusts by legal insurance fees, which can range from a few thousand pounds to £10 million a year.
But pay-outs from the NHS Litigation Authority have trebled over the last decade, and reached £863m in 2011, leaving the NHS fund almost empty.
The boom of no-win no-fee claims cases has been blamed for the rise in claims, as well as the increasing survival rates of babies with brain damage.
Brain-damaged babies need round the clock care, and compensation settlements can often reach £6m to cover those costs.
During the past five years, clinical negligence claims have risen from 5,697 to 8,655 per year.
Health minister Lord Howe said: "The vast majority of the millions of people treated by the NHS every year experience good quality, safe and effective care."
"However, if patients do not receive the treatment they should and mistakes are made, it is right that they are entitled to compensation and the NHS Litigation Authority plays a vital role in ensuring that claims are settled as swiftly as possible.”
"Following a review of claims, we have made additional funds available to the NHS Litigation Authority in order to make sure that those claimants who are entitled to compensation receive it in a timely way."
Claims of neglect in the NHS have rocketed over the past year. Patients with learning disabilities have been denied basic nursing care and essential medication, and the elderly have suffered discrimination on NHS wards.
With the NHS under increasing financial pressure, private medical insurance could be a great investment for the New Year.
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