Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

NHS paid more than £1m in compensation due to helpline’s bad advice

THE HEALTH service has had to pay out more than £1million in compensation to patients who suffered after being given poor advice from the controversial NHS Direct telephone helpline.

Legal documents from the NHS show that patients who rang the now-disbanded service have successfully sued for a range of ailments triggered by incorrect advice. One case involved the family of a patient who died. In another the patient suffered life-changing brain damage as a result of not getting treatment quickly enough. Other payouts involved patients left blind, in needless pain, requiring extra operations and a case where a man had to have a testicle removed.

In nearly all the cases NHS Direct accepted there was a delay or a ­failure to recognise the symptoms of an ­illness or to refer somebody to hospital quickly enough. The dossier of claims also lists cases where patients won compensation after suffering a heart attack, dental damage, burns and peritonitis, a serious abdominal infection. Over the past four years the NHS has paid out on 13 cases where it has accepted that a patient suffered because of negligent advice.

The total compensation involved is £1.4million. The figure has shot up in the past year as one of the most recent cases, believed to be where the victim suffered brain damage, was settled with a payment of more than £1million.

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