Litigation related to anaesthesia: analysis of claims report published

Date published:

Anaesthesia remains a medico legally low risk specialty, an analysis of claims has shown. A report, co-authored by NHS Resolution’s Tim Shurlock and Tinku Mitra, reviewed 1230 claims against anaesthesia in England. Cost and comparisons were made against a similar published analysis from 1995-2007.

Anaesthesia now accounts for smaller proportions of all claims submitted to NHS Resolution, even though the annual number of claims against anaesthesia increased 62%. The absolute costs related to anaesthesia claims rose over 300%, totalling £115 million in the period 2008-2018. However the mean cost per closed claim fell by 16% to £74,883, when retail price index adjustments were applied. The review of claims shows that factors in the claims with the highest mean cost included delayed care, planning, monitoring and consent.

The analysis provides important insights into current and changing patterns in claim distributions that may aid improvements in quality of patient care and reduce future litigation. The review concludes with a recommendation of the establishment of a structure for national review and learning from all cases of litigation.

Read the report in full on the Associations of Anaesthetists website.