New figures published by the NHS Litigation Authority show that medical negligence compensation payouts by NHS Trusts based in Kent have more than doubled over the last seven years.
The NHS Litigation Authority is responsible for settling personal injury claims and handling legal issues for the NHS where medical negligence is concerned.
In 2004 Kent NHS hospital trusts paid out £9.8 million in compensation, compared to a figure of £21.4 million in 2011.
In response to the figures, The Department of Care stated that the vast majority of the millions of patients treated by the NHS received high quality care.
A spokesman conceded: “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 came from East Kent Hospitals Trust, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, and Medway NHS Foundation Trust.
A spokesperson for 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.”
The NHS Litigation Authority has recently received a cash injection to cover the cost of medical negligence compensation claims as there were fears the money would run out.