COMPENSATION claims because of wrong or delayed diagnoses cost a North-East hospital trust more than £5.8m last year.

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, which oversees the University Hospital of North Durham, Darlington Memorial Hospital and Bishop Auckland Hospital, closed or settled 30 cases in the 2018/19 financial year – the fourth highest in the country.

Claims can often take a number of years to settle because of the complexity of some cases.

A total of £2.67m was paid out in damages, while added legal fees meant to total paid as a result of the claims was £5.8m.

A spokesperson for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said, “Our priority is delivering safe, quality care and experience to the two million patient contacts we have every year.

"When claims are made, they are fully investigated and we promote a culture of openness in recognising, reporting and learning when care doesn’t go as planned.

"We work with NHS Resolution to resolve claims through national processes.”

A total of 2,315 claims were received by NHS Resolution in 2018/19, according to a Freedom of Information request carried out by Hudgell Solicitors.

The NHS settled 1,441 cases at a cost of £370m, down from 1,789 settlements the previous year, which cost £655m.

Vince Shore, the company's head of clinical negligence, said: “Although the amount being paid out on settled claims relating to misdiagnosis is up from 2013/14, it’s great to see the figure has fallen so sharply over the last 12 months.

"Having said that, it’s a concern that the NHS is spending the equivalent amount it would take to train over 5,000 nurses on misdiagnosis errors."