A North East mental health trust has paid out more than £800,000 in claims from patients and staff in a 12 month period. 

Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV) paid £812,272 in compensation between July 2022 and July 2023, and dealt with a total of 21 medical negligence claims. 

The trust said that "the majority of of those we care for have a good experience", and emphasised that they have "an unrelenting focus on patient safety and continually learn to improve the care we provide".

Comparatively, research published by the BMJ in July of this year showed that country wide, negligence claims cost the NHS £2.7bn in 2022-23, though claims may be ongoing for several years, and figures might not reflect care in the current year. 

Medical negligence occurs when a healthcare professional provides substandard care to a patient that falls below the standard expected of any healthcare professional. 

A claim may arise if the patient subsequently suffers unnecessary or avoidable harm.

Out of 371 complaints TEWV received, a fifth related aspects of treatment and care of patients.

The trust also advised that the amount of medical negligence compensation is less than half of the £812,272 stat, as it is made up of claims from patients, employees and public liability claims. 

The figures were compiled by LegalExpert.co.uk, which specialises in recovering compensation for injuries and illnesses.

A spokesperson from the Trust said: "We serve a population of 2 million people in our region and the majority of those we care for have a good experience.

"The amount quoted is made up of compensation paid and fees relating to patients, employees and public liability claims. The amount of compensation paid relating to clinical negligence is therefore much lower than what is quoted.

"We have an unrelenting focus on patient safety and continually learn to improve the care we provide."

A spokesperson at JF Law (which works with the LegalExpert.co.uk), warned that the consequences of medical negligence can be “devastating”. 

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He said: “As well as the obvious emotional impact, injuries and bereavements can cause a bigger financial impact than many households can bear, particularly in the current cost of living crisis, when many are already struggling to make ends meet.

“Whilst some people understandably worry that making a claim will affect front line care, the reality is that hospitals and GPs are always insured against such claims. 

“As such, any damages owed are paid by the insurers, and do not affect the care other patients are receiving.”