COMPENSATION claims against York Hospital’s trust cost more than £6 million last year – an increase of nearly £3.5 million on the year before.

A total of £6,078,067 was paid out over clinical negligence damages and costs on behalf of York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust for 2012/13, compared to £2,648,660 in 2011/12.

There were 106 clinical negligence claims and incidents registered by the NHS Litigation Authority last year, compared to 41 the previous year.

The Trust said the rise could be attributed to its taking over of Scarborough Hospital, a general rise in litigation and a rush of claims before a change in legislation in April 2013, which changed the way in which “no win, no fee” cases are funded.

It means people who win their case now have to pay their own solicitors’ fees from the damages awarded.

Dr Alastair Turnbull, medical director for York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Trust treats all claims as an opportunity to learn and to improve further the safety and quality of care of our patients.

"When things go wrong as, regrettably, they do in all healthcare settings, our first responsibility is to those affected but also to ensure that we change our clinical practices as a result.”

Of the 106 claims last year, the trust could not confirm how many of these received payments as many claims had not been concluded yet.

Of the compensation paid in 2012/13, a total of £2,284,422 was spent on clinical negligence damages and costs relating to obstetrics – medical care relating to childbirth and midwifery, for which compensation claims can be very high relating to the need for lifelong care.

There were a total of six matters relating to obstetrics.

The Trust would not say whether any staff had gone through disciplinary procedures or had been dismissed in connection with the clinical negligence claims.

A spokeswoman said: “Incidents leading to claims are investigated thoroughly by the Trust, and through the course of these investigations there is a process in place for identifying potential disciplinary issues. These are dealt with independently of the claims process.”

A total of £237,288 was paid in relation to non-clinical liabilities, including damages and costs.

Most payments did not come from the trust but from the NHS Litigation Authority, to which it pays a premium every year.

York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust operates nine hospital sites including York, Scarborough, Bridlington, Whitby, Malton and Norton, Selby and Easingwold.