RCN negligence costs ‘soar to £5 million’07th December 2011
Legal costs for Royal College of Nursing (RCN) members have trebled over five years to £5 million a year due to an increasing number of larger claims being made, research suggests.
Nursing in Practice discovered that payouts for negligence claims made against RCN practice nurse members soared by nearly £2 million last year alone, more than twice its £2.15 million legal bill for 2007 and more than three times the £1.48 million it paid out in legal costs the year before.
The soaring legal costs are largely attributed to the fact that the size of negligence claims have risen at an alarming pace since 2006, with some now exceeding £1 million.
Chris Cox, RCN legal director, said: “We saw the first million-pound claim against an RCN member in 2008/2009 and the volume of such significant claims has been rising ever since,” he said.
“We had a handful of legal claims exceeding a million pounds during 2010/2011 – the highest number we’ve ever had.
“This has made a huge difference to the overall figures.”
This trend is thought to have influenced the RCN’s decision to withdraw indemnity cover for its registered practical nurses. From January, GP employers will have to take legal and financial responsibility for the actions of their nurses.
Nursing in Practice also discovered that an increasing number of serious legal claims have been levelled at nurses in the last decade.
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