Cheap reporting of serious matters: Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board is average again

From Caroline Wilson, headlining in the Herald today:

By Caroline Wilson, headlining in the Herald today, a cheap and inaccurate account. The £280 million is insurance against claims by parents where, tragically, their child died in the process of being born. There is as yet no evidence that any of these cases will be settled against the health board. Further down we read that only £27 million in total was actually paid out last year. There is a different, more accurate, more sensitive headline of the kind an adult might compose.

We read:

Scotland’s largest health board is facing a multi-million compensation bill for botched deliveries on maternity wards. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said 80%  of the £280million sum set aside for new claims was related to 14 “high value” cases lodged for “adverse events in childbirth”, which caused harm to either the mother or baby.

Putting the above 14 cases into perspective:

Three hundred babies died or were left brain-damaged due to inadequate care at an NHS trust, according to reports. The Sunday Times has reported that a five-year investigation will conclude next week that mothers were denied caesarean sections and forced to suffer traumatic births due to an alleged preoccupation with hitting “normal” birth targets. The inquiry, which analysed the experiences of 1,500 families at Shrewsbury and Telford hospital trust between 2000 and 2019, found that at least 12 mothers died while giving birth, and some families lost more than one child in separate incidents, the newspaper reported.

Further, Shrewsbury and Telford hospital trust serves around 500 000 people. Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board serves 1 200 000, more than twice as many.

Finally, in Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board, despite its well-known historical challenges around drug and alcohol abuse and level of poverty among many of its patients, the Infant death ratio (3.46 per 100K live births) is very close to the Scottish average (3.24):

3 thoughts on “Cheap reporting of serious matters: Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board is average again

  1. We are often criticised for comparing our stats to those of rUK but when you consider who is doing most of the criticising – ie leaders of the opposition who are supporters of that Union – then it is essential we make those comparisons because that is the regime they would wish upon us.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. ‘Cheap reporting of a serious matter’ – indeed it is, and written seemingly without regard to any additional anxiety it may unnecessarily cause!

    As a preamble to this btl comment, it’s my view that ‘whataboutery’ is a very different thing from pointing to relevant evidence from elsewhere in order to obtain context and/or perspective. When a ‘big’ number is used it is reasonable – indeed logical – to seek to ascertain whether the number is indeed ‘big’, and by implication ‘bad’, relative to an appropriate comparator.

    In a peer reviewed paper in the British Medical Journal in 2020 entitled ‘Clinical negligence costs: taking action to safeguard NHS sustainability’, we learn this about NHS England:

    ‘The NHS paid £2.4BN (€2.8BN; $3.1BN) IN CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE CLAIMS IN 2018-19, according to NHS Resolution (formerly the NHS Litigation Authority). This sum equates to about 2% OF THE ENTIRE BUDGET FOR THE NHS IN ENGLAND (roughly £115bn).

    ‘But even these startling figures do not provide the full picture, since NHS Resolution also has to account for claims likely to be received in the future. NOW STANDING AT £83.4BN, THE AMOUNT “SET ASIDE” FOR SUCH CLAIMS IS AMONG THE MOST SUBSTANTIAL PUBLIC SECTOR FINANCIAL LIABILITIES FACED BY THE UK GOVERNMENT, SECOND ONLY TO NUCLEAR DECOMMISSIONING (£131BN).’ (my emphasis)

    NHS Resolution is an arm’s length body of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). One of its functions is dealing with claims for compensation on behalf of the NHS in England. It manages seven different clinical negligence schemes on behalf of NHS England

    From its website we learn this: ‘Obstetric incidents can be catastrophic and life-changing, with related claims representing THE CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE SCHEME FOR TRUSTS’ (CNST) BIGGEST AREA OF SPEND. Of the clinical negligence claims notified to us in 2020/21, OBSTETRICS CLAIMS REPRESENTED 11 PER CENT (1,190) OF CLINICAL CLAIMS BY NUMBER, BUT ACCOUNTED FOR 59 PER CENT OF THE TOTAL VALUE OF NEW CLAIMS; ALMOST £4.2 BILLION.’


    The House of Lords Library on 29 November, 2021 published a briefing entitled ‘Negligence in the NHS: liability costs’. An easily found document, it includes this:

    ‘The cost of CNST clinical negligence claims incurred as a result of incidents in 2020/21 was £7.9 billion. NHS Resolution has said that 60% of this cost related to maternity services (£4.8 billion as at 31 March 2021).’

    And it notes: ‘EVERY BABY BORN IN THE NHS IN ENGLAND NOW INCURS INDEMNITY COSTS OF £1100. With roughly 600 000 births annually, the NHS PAYS ROUGHLY £12.7M A WEEK FOR THE COSTS OF OBSTETRIC HARM. The rise in costs is widely regarded as unsustainable. Spending on clinical negligence is increasing much faster than funding for the NHS, TRIPLING IN THE DECADE FROM 2009. That means that the proportion of scarce NHS resources going to litigation instead of care is worsening.’

    Data for NHS Scotland can found on the website of CNORIS, the Clinical Negligence and Other Risks Indemnity Scheme and NHS National Services Scotland (NSS). It’s tempting to place the Herald’s piece in the relevant NHS Scotland context too but this btl contribution is already too long!


  3. More lies and misinformation, Easily found out. The MSM total ignorance of maths and statistics. No wonder no one believes it. Irrational headlines and total lack of logic. Gutter press.


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