4,000 for slipping on a potato and 2,500 for walking into a door… how NHS staff cash in on accidents at work
Nurse given 1,650 for blister 'caused by serving mashed potato'Hospital staff member awarded 2,775 to hurting shoulder throwing litter into a bin

Floored: An NHS employee received compensation for slipping on potato peel

Floored: An NHS employee received compensation for slipping on potato peel

NHS staff are claiming nearly 20million a year in taxpayer-funded compensation for injuries such as bruises, twisted ankles and blisters.

The number of employees seeking damages for accidents they insist were the fault of the Health Service has jumped by almost a third in just five years.

Last year more than 3,200 injury claims were filed by NHS staff, including one that resulted in a worker being paid 6,500 for a bruise.

And the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust paid out 3,980 to a nurse who slipped on a piece of potato on a ward floor.

An
employee at the same trust was paid 5,750 after he fell over when the
bottom of his trousers got caught on a metal bracket on a wall. In the
past five years, the NHS has paid out 91.8million in compensation to
9,042 employees.

The number
of claims made by staff has jumped from 2,535 in 2005/6 to 3,287 last
year, according to figures obtained after Freedom of Information
requests to the NHS Litigation Authority and NHS trusts.

There
are concerns that staff are being egged on by ‘no-win no-fee’
solicitors telling them to claim for injuries caused by their own
clumsiness or bad luck.

A
hospital worker at Sherwood Forest NHS Trust was paid 2,250 after
suffering ‘tennis elbow’ – a common sports injury that he insisted was
caused by ‘repetitive moving’.

The
same hospital awarded 875 to a member of staff who cut their thumb,
while a porter at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals got 3,400 for a
‘whiplash-type injury’ that allegedly happened while pushing a trolley.

Brighton
and Sussex University Hospitals awarded 10,000 to an employee who
twisted their ankle on a step and the same amount to another worker who
suffered a cut finger.

And
at West Hertfordshire Hospitals a worker was given 2,775 for injuring
their shoulder by throwing litter into a bin, while a secretary at
Countess of Chester Hospital got 350 for falling off a chair.

claims

Tory MP Stephen Barclay said: ‘I would want to know why someone got 6,500 for a bruise.

‘It seems surprising that some payments are being made for what appear to be relatively minor injuries.

‘I
would welcome some clarification from the officer responsible for the
payments so that he can demonstrate that they were of value for money
for the taxpayer.

‘This is money that would otherwise be spent on patients with medical needs.’

Matthew
Elliott, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘This is an incredible
amount of money for the NHS to be losing to compensation claims, and
means less cash is available for frontline care.

A secretary at Countess of Chester Hospital got 350 for falling off a chair

A secretary at Countess of Chester Hospital got 350 for falling off a chair

‘There
will be some cases where payouts in the workplace are unavoidable, but
health bosses need to ensure these are kept to a minimum by properly
managing their facilities and rejecting and fighting frivolous claims.

‘Taxpayers
can’t afford endless huge payouts – they are a symptom of a growing
compensation culture that needs to be stopped.’

The extraordinary amounts are being paid out while the NHS is under severe financial strain.

Although
its budget has been ring-fenced from Government cuts, it has been
ordered to make 20billion of ‘efficiency savings’ over the next few
years so money can be ploughed back into patient care.

Many NHS trusts have resorted to cutting frontline staff and rationing treatments to try to meet these targets.

Only
last month a report from MPs found the NHS was now paying out
15.7billion a year for medical accidents, with many claims driven by
no-win no-fee lawyers.

Figures
compiled by the public accounts committee showed the sum had jumped by
13 per cent in a year and accounted for a seventh of the Health
Service’s annual budget.