Medical mistreatment costs NHS almost £2.5bn a year, says health secretary

16 October 2014

Medical mistreatment costs NHS almost £2.5bn a year, says health secretary

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt is set to tell NHS hospital trust bosses that a culture change is required in the NHS to stop it wasting money through medical errors and negligence.

Citing a new report, commissioned by the Department of Health, Hunt is expected to say today that hospitals are wasting up to £2.5bn a year of the NHS’s budget through poor care and medical errors, including mistakes such as giving patients incorrect drugs. He will warn of a ‘dangerous nexus between poor care and higher cost’ highlighting his common views that the patient safety standards in the NHS are inadequate.

The variety of mistakes that the NHS makes hit the budgets in different ways. For examples, the report estimates that mistakes with medication cost the NHS up to £770m in treating patients who then have an adverse reaction to the wrongly proscribed drug or who suffered avoidable harm as a result.

Hunt will also outline how the NHS could slash these extreme costs through better medical practices. For example, reducing the number of patients who develop an infection after orthopaedic surgery could save between £200m-£300m with infection after a new hip or knee surgery can cost up to £70,000.

Sepsis remains 'the silent killer'

Hunt will also use the report to reiterate that sepsis needs better recognition amongst NHS practices. Sepsis is currently classed as a ‘silent killer’ but which is killing approximately 37,000 a year. Hunt will suggest that better tackling this blood infection could save £196m, based on the research by Frontier Economics, a reviewer of patient safety lapse costs.

Sepsis and orthopaedic surgery are two areas where has helped provide members of the public with access to justice and mirror Hunt’s comments in terms of the number of incidents which continue to rise on an annual basis amongst hospitals in the NHS.

Other examples Hunt is expected to outline include pressure ulcer care avoidance, which results in an average extra 12 day stay in hospitals and which costs £49m annually. Likewise, urinary tract infections caused by a patient’s catheter cost £67m, blood clots £53m and falls a further £36m.

Blood clots, pressure ulcers and urinary infections costing NHS millions annually

These are all types of medical mistreatment which has helped numerous members of the public with. Hunt’s views are welcome as good patient care should not be compromised by avoidable harm. Where something does go wrong, patients and their loved ones are well within their rights to be told exactly what happened to raise patient standards across the NHS.

Speaking at Birmingham Children’s hospital, Hunt will also make clear to the bosses of NHS hospital trusts that patient safety must be improved notwithstanding financial challenges and that cutting corners eventually results in costing bosses more money in the end.

“If you’re short of money, poor care is about the most wasteful and expensive thing you can do,” he is expected to say.

Patient Care Options

Have you or a loved one wanted to raise a complaint with the NHS regarding medical mistreatment that has been experienced? Our specialist teams can provide FREE advice about what your options are, whether you want to make a medical negligence claim or medical mistreatment complaint or simply to better understand what your patient rights. You can contact us here today for  a no-obligation and completely free conversation to discuss what happened to you.