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Multimillion-pound compensation claims against GPs increase

Multimillion-pound compensation claims against GPs and private consultants have risen three-fold over the past decade, a medical defence organisation has said.

The Medical Defence Union said that it has settled 12 compensation claims in excess of £1m in 2015.

In 2005, just four settled claims exceeded £1m, while it settled only a single claim by that amount in 1995.

The MDU said it paid out £8.5 million in compensation and legal costs after a GP missed a diagnosis of a subarachnoid haemorrhage.

Dr Michael Devlin, head of professional standards and liaison at the MDU said: ‘We are seeing disturbing rises in the cost of clinical negligence claims and a surge of multi-million pound damages awards against our GP and consultant members.

‘These payments are no reflection on clinical standards, which remain high, but rather a result of a combination of economic pressure and an outdated legal system meaning compensation costs are calculated on the basis of private, rather than NHS care.’