NHS payouts in Kent double in seven years

The amount of compensation paid out for medical negligence at Kent's hospital trusts has more than doubled in seven years, it has been revealed.

The figures have been published by the NHS Litigation Authority, which settles claims on behalf of the health service.

It shows the amount has risen from £9.8m in 2004 to £21.4m last year.

The Department of Health said the "vast majority" of the millions of patients treated by the NHS every year received good quality care.

A spokesman said: "However, if patients do not receive the treatment they should and mistakes are made, it is right that they are entitled to compensation."

The figures cover East Kent Hospitals Trust, Medway NHS Foundation Trust, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust and Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trusts.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust said: "Many of the claims take time to resolve and can reflect cases from many years ago. The total amount paid can be affected by a single high value settlement.

"Claim values have also been affected by the growth of 'no win, no fee' solicitors recouping their costs from the NHS as well."

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