£290k compo pay to hospital workers

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WIGAN’S hospital staff have received a total payout of more than a quarter of a million pounds for injuries at work over the last four years.

A total of £290,569 has been paid out to frontline staff at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh (WWL) NHS Foundation Trust through damages for injuries sustained whilst on duty between 2008 and 2012. The highest amount of compensation awarded was £40,000 in 2009, for an employee who suffered a fall.

The second biggest payout was in 2008 - £32,395 for a back injury caused by pushing a patient in a wheelchair.

Between 2008 and 2012 there were 27 claims for falls, ranging from £1,000, up to £40,000, and eight reports of sharps injuries, with damages from £500 to £2,000.

A settlement of £1,000 was awarded to a member of staff who had fluid squirted in their eye when cleaning apparatus, whilst £2,556 was paid out to an employee who was hurt when they were hit by a door.

A worker received £4,000 when they became contaminated with a patient’s blood who may have had an infectious disease in 2010.

Other claims include £1,255 given to someone whose foot was injured when a wheelchair ran over it; £1,900 for an arm injury caused when an object was sticking out of a rubbish bag; and £16,000 for being hurt after files fell from a desk.

But the NHS does not pay for the whole amount of the claims.

WWL pays the first £10,000 of any settled claim and the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) - as the Trust’s insurer - is responsible for the payment of anything over this figure.

The startling figures were revealed after a Freedom of Information request by the Wigan Evening Post.

A spokesman said: “The NHSLA is a special authority set up under section 11 of the NHS Act 1977.  

“It has a number of schemes for NHS bodies of which the WWL is a contributory member.

“One of the aims of NHSLA is to help NHS bodies pool the costs of any loss of or damage to property and liabilities to third parties for loss, damage or injury arising out of the carrying out of functions.”

Meanwhile, between 2009 and 2012, there members of staff were assaulted.

One worker had injuries to neck and shoulder when an agitated patient grabbed hold of their arm; another was punched and bit by a patient who was recovering from sedation and another was punched in the face.

No money has been awarded from the NHS and a spokesman said the Trust was unable to comment on specific cases, which may have been dealt with by the police.

Robert Oxley, campaign manger of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “People won’t begrudge compensation for NHS staff who are attacked while just doing their jobs.

“Yet at the other end of the scale the trust has paid out large sums of taxpayers’ money for, in some cases, very trivial reasons.

“There is a worrying rise in compensation culture and every penny paid out is money not available for patient care.

“The trust must do all it can to protect taxpayers from unnecessary and overly expensive compensation claims.”