How can we stop the lawyers from feasting on our stricken NHS? | Polly Toynbee

With medical negligence cases sharply up, citizens need to ask if they really want services drained to compensate a few claimants who can prove their caseNot a week goes by without another sign of extreme stress in the NHS. Winter is coming, as the warning goes, with 40,000 nurse vacancies unfilled, debts mounting and for the first time ever the NHS next year takes a real cut in per-capita income.

What can people do? Show political willingness to pay more tax: that comes first. But something else requires a change in public attitudes. A shocking National Audit Office (NAO) report today shows how fast the cost of medical negligence cases is rising: £60bn is set aside by trusts to cover claims – not all to be paid out in one year, but money held over. That’s a sharp rise from £51bn in the previous year, and the NAO says it’s one of the government’s biggest liabilities.

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