Yes, you read that right.
NHS: Compensation and Legal Costs
Whether the cost to the National Health Service of £175 million for compensation and legal costs as stated by the National Health Service Litigation Authority includes all outstanding cases to the end of the past financial year. [HL7454]
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): The NHS Litigation Authority 2005-06 accounts report expenditure of £591,586,000 on clinical and non-clinical negligence claims in the past financial year. The accounts include a provision, as at 31 March 2006, of £8,344,980,000 for all outstanding cases including an estimate for incidents that have occurred but not been reported.
The government have put aside £8.344 billion pounds to cover negligence claims against the NHS, both clinical and non-clinical. Doesn't say how much is put aside for non-clinical negligence though. Nor does it define what non-clinical negligence is. (Anyone fancy a Freedom of Information request there?)
Eight. Billion. Quid.
One thing that does surprise me is that no further questions were asked. Even in the current climate of rather defensive medicine (though not as bad as the USA) this figure is staggering. To put it in perspective, that would be a year's income for over 330,000 new police officers.
Yet so far, the Government (Lawd bless 'em!) have spent over £20 billion on a computer system which isn't fit for purpose and probably won't be.
God help us all...