Clinical/Social Care Negligence Cases in Northern Ireland (2016/17)

Date published: 08 November 2017

The Department of Health (DoH) today published statistics collected from Health & Social Care (HSC) Trusts, Agencies and Legacy Health and Social Services (HSS) Boards on all clinical/social care negligence cases in the north of Ireland open during the year ending 31 March 2017.

The statistical bulletin presents information on clinical/social care negligence cases that were open at any stage during the year ending 31 March 2017.

Key Points

The key findings presented in the statistics release are listed below.

Payments in 2016/17:

  • During the last three years, the amount paid on clinical/social care negligence cases decreased by £12.8 million (31.0%), from £41.4 million in 2014/15 to £28.5 million in 2016/17 (Table 1).
  • Of the £28.5 million paid on clinical/social care negligence cases in 2016/17, over two thirds (69.0%, £19.7m) was paid in damages, £6.3 million (21.9%) in plaintiff costs and £2.6 million (9.1%) in defence costs (Figure 2, Table 2).
  • Payments to Date:
  • During 2016/17, 3,647 clinical/social care negligence cases were open at any stage, 332 (10.0%) more than in 2012/13 (3,315) (Table 3).
  • In 2016/17, 667 new cases were opened, 632 cases were closed, whilst 2,769 cases remained open and 246 cases had been settled at 31 March 2017 (Figure 5, Tables 4 - 8).
  • The average clinical/social care negligence case, open in 2016/17, had been open for 2.6 years, similar to 2015/16 (2.6 years) (Figure 11).
  • Over half (56.4%, 2,015) of all clinical/social care negligence cases related to four specialties; ‘Obstetrics’ (636), ‘Accident & Emergency’ (626), ‘General Surgery’ (379) and ‘Trauma and Orthopaedics’ (374) (Table 14).
  • A total of £94.1 million has been paid to date on the 3,647 clinical/social care negligence cases which were open at any stage during 2016/17. Of which, £70.0 million (74.4%) has been awarded in damages and £24.1 million (25.6%) paid out in legal costs (defence and plaintiff) (Table 15).
  • Over half (52.9%, £52.9m) of the amount paid out on clinical/social care negligence cases, open at any stage during 2016/17, related to the ‘Obstetrics’ speciality, of which, almost four fifths (78.8%, £39.2m) had been paid in damages (Table 16).

The information release is published on the Departmental website.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The information detailed in this publication is derived from the Departmental CN1 and CN1a statistical returns provided by & Social Care (HSC) Trusts, Agencies and Legacy Health and Social Services (HSS) Boards.
  2. All information has been validated with Health & Social Care Trusts, and incorporates all returns and amendments received up to 1 November 2017.

    Further information on Clinical/Social Care Negligence statistics is available from:

    Hospital Information Branch
    Department of Health
    Annexe 2, Castle Buildings
    Stormont, BT4 3SQ
    Email: hib.questions@health-ni.gov.uk
    Internet: https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/articles/clinical-negligence-statistics

  3.  Media queries to DoH Information Office on 02890 520 579, or out of hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt

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