Jeremy Hunt: 'Staff errors' waste NHS £2.5bn

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt. Credit: PA

A culture change is needed within the NHS to stop £2.5 billion being paid out to cover mistakes made by healthcare staff, the health secretary has said.

Jeremy Hunt will warn today that poor care puts a dent in the annual NHS budget, as £1-2.5 billion is spent every year trying to rectify mistakes made by workers.

The figures, published in a report by economic consultants Frontier Economics, show how much taxpayer money was spent every year on extra treatment, bed space and nursing care, as well as huge compensation pay-outs.

But the Royal College of Nursing argued that poor care is a result of understaffing on wards and not because nurses are unaware of how to prevent mistakes.

In a speech to staff at Birmingham Children's Hospital today, Jeremy Hunt is expected to say:

Jeremy Hunt will say better patient safety will divert more cash to overstretched budgets. Credit: PA

Last year the NHS spent £1.3 billion on payouts after being sued by patients over care errors.

Four areas of poor patient safety highlighted by the Department of Health include falls and trips, bed ulcers, urinary infections caused by poorly fitted catheters, and deep vein thrombosis, which together cost the NHS an estimated £200 million a year in extra care.

However, Labour health spokesman Jamie Reed hit out at the Government for not doing more to support overworked NHS staff: