This article, published by the British Medical Journal, argues that the NHS cannot afford to divert more and more money to litigation and we need to tackle the problem at source. Tim Draycott and colleagues set out four principles to reduce avoidable harm:
- Invest in staffing and infrastructure
- Really commit to learning
- Learn from high performance
- Enable and support system-wide safety improvements.
- Spending on clinical negligence is escalating, constituting a major threat to the sustainability of the NHS.
- In England, payments for negligence awards are resourced from the same funds used to provide care.
- Improvements in quality and patient safety might help to reduce litigation costs but need to be evidence based.
- Solving the crisis in litigation costs will require a system-wide effort, with engagement and coordination of stakeholders across the health system.