Eoin Clarke really is a lying little tosspot

Here. The cash paid out in NHS negligence claims has risen since the Tories took power. This must be because the Tories are evil bastards gutting the NHS.

The graph above shows the annual grand total in whole pounds of payments by the the NHS in respect to negligence claims made against it. As you can clearly see, they have soared since the Tories came to power. The figures are supplied by the NHS Litigation Authority (fact sheet two from this link). We, the taxpayer, are now paying more than £500,000,000 more in extra payments per year in negligence claims against the NHS than we were when Labour left power. That annual wastage of taxpayers\’ money on extra negligence payouts is the same as an entire bill for EMA for a whole year for every 16-18 year old in the England. By cutting the NHS funding the Tories are increasing the waste of taxpayers\’ money of negligence payouts. A silly waste of taxpayers\’ money.

It is quite clear that funding constraints placed upon the NHS are putting undue pressure on Hospitals and Trusts. This extra pressure to reduce costs undoubtedly leads to corners being cut. We know that the recruitment freeze has led to 29,000 NHS Staff being sacked. We know that nurses are now asked to carry out deep cleans because cleaning staff have been axed. We know that there are 5,000 fewer nurses and that radiologists are being axed. The combined pressure of Tory cuts to NHS funding will cost the NHS upwards of £2billion this parliament alone in extra negligence payouts. We know this because there are now £18.5 billion of outstanding claims against NHS negligence waiting to be settled.

It wasn\’t always like this. There used to be a better way. The Tories and their McKinsey inspired \’efficiency savings\’ are actually costing the taxpayer billions in extra negligence payments.

Anyone with half a brain or even the most basic regard for the truth would have picked up on that £18.5 billion outstanding. If there\’s that much outstanding and only £1.3 billion a year being paid out then obviously it must take a number of years for claims to be settled.

And if we go to factsheet 3, we can see what those numbers are.

What you\’ll actually see is that claims have fallen precipitately since the Tories came to power. The rise in payments is clearing up the mess left by Labour.

Now, if I were a lying little tosspot I\’d claim that what is happening is that the heartless bastard Tories have done two things: one, reduced negligence and thus claims and secondly, coughed up the money righteously owed to those crippled and bereaved by the monocular Scots maniac.

As I\’m not a lying little tosspot (to large to be little) I\’ll simply tell the truth instead. It takes a number of years for people to file negligence claims, takes more years to sort them out, then the lawyers must argue for some time to ensure their cut. So the low number of recent claims is simply because not everyone has got around to it yet and the larger amounts of money being paid out now are as the result of negligence claims filed some years back on negligent actions that happened further back.

All of which rather makes sense. Labour splurged money at the NHS and treatment rates rose substantially (something like 50% rise in number of treatments from memory). And, amazingly, given the involvement of human beings in all of this, the more treatments there are the more fuck ups there will be. Thus more compensation claims. Which is what is now being paid for.

That is, this rise in money being paid out now is a direct result of the expansion of the NHS a decade and more ago.

But then as I say, I\’m not a lying little tosspot making stuff up for political vainglory, am I?

Or as I suspect Clarke actually is, simply too ignorant and too dumb to parse the figures.

34 comments on “Eoin Clarke really is a lying little tosspot

  1. “The NHS LA had 22,512 “live” claims as at 31 March 2012, and CNST claims are now settled in an average of 1.3 years, counting from the date of notification to the NHS LA to the date when compensation is agreed or the claimant discontinues their claim.”

    Page 1 Factsheet 3. Read and weep Tim.

  2. Tim say

    “It takes a number of years for people to file negligence claims, takes more years to sort them out, then the lawyers must argue for some time to ensure their cut.”

    Now Tim, if you are really not a “lying tosspot” you will happily accept you are wrong.

  3. Eoin,

    “Takes on average 1.3 years for a claim to be settled….”

    What Fact Sheet 3 actually says is:

    “CNST claims are now settled in an average of 1.3 years, counting from the date of notification to the NHS LA to the date when compensation is agreed or the claimant discontinues their claim.”

    (Unlike you, I’ve cut and pasted this directly from page 1 of Fact Sheet 3)

    You’ve omitted a REALLY important word. That word is “now”. Could it be that the increase in settled claims is because the NHS has increased the speed at which they handle the cases? That would explain why the amount paid out has increased when according to Fact Sheet 3 both the number AND VALUE of claims have fallen considerably since 2009.

    I know better than to try to comment on your blog, as you always delete anything I say. But you are picking and choosing statistics to suit your political agenda. That may not be lying, exactly, but it is duplicitous. I don’t buy Tim’s suggestion that you aren’t bright enough to understand the statistics you abuse. I think more highly of you than that – which is why I think your behaviour is much, much worse.

    Please stop deliberately abusing statistics to promote your political beliefs.

  4. ha ha Frances.

    Look up – I copied it exactly. Word “now” is included in my copy.

    Silly you. Time to change those glasses.

  5. Reminds me of Murphy’s claim that cutting CGT rates reduced the amount of tax collected.

    Turns out he’d taken the figures for the year the tax was paid, rather than the year it was charged. He’d forgetten that CGT is paid a year in arrears. So he was comparing two pre-rate-change years rather than (as he thought) the year before and the year after the change.

  6. Eoin,

    My quote is from your first comment. I posted my comment before your second comment appeared.

    However, although in your second comment you did at least quote accurately, you don’t seem to appreciate the significance of the word “now”. So I shall spell it out for you.

    If the NHS had a backlog of negligence cases that it is now settling, the amount settled per annum will of course rise – even though, as Fact Sheet 3 inconveniently shows, the number of NEW claims has been falling precipitately since 2009.

    Maybe Tim is right and you are dim, after all.

  7. Can you genuinely not interpret simple charts, Dr Clarke?

    Factsheet 3, page 3, ‘Total number of clinical negligence claims by financial year of incident as at 31/03/12 ” and “Outstanding value of clinical negligence claims by financial year of incident as at 31/03/12 “.

    Stop digging, for pity’s sake.

  8. Eoin, you miss out (at least) a couple of factors. The biggest and most horrendous cases are the ones that take the longest to work out. So the 1.3 figure deals largely with the smaller, more trivial cases, not the large, expensive and tragic birth defect cases. And the law changes, for better or worse. So what can be recovered now, for damages or costs, is not the same as 3 yrs ago.

  9. Eoin,
    Looking at the data, it supports Tim.
    Given that:

    a – “Currently, fewer than 2% of the cases handled by the NHSLA end up in court, with the remainder settled out of court or abandoned by the claimant.”

    b – The mean duration is 1.3 years.

    The implication is that cases that are not swiftly abandoned (the majority being abandoned) take longer. Consider the following arithmetical example: You have ten cases. Six are abandoned in an average of a quarter of a year (for example). The remaining four would take an average of nearly three years each. the population distribution is not smooth.

    In short, the mean cannot give useful data in this circumstance, without median and mode at least, and preferably interquartile ranges.

    We can, however, access the raw data on “Total number of clinical negligence claims by financial year of incident as at 31/03/12 ” (from the table at the top of page 3). Which would seem to cut right through any calculation attempts in the absence of data.

    Given that there is a noticeable time for non-abandoned claims to be processed, it would be fair to take a year about 3 or 4 years back for comparison.

    07/08: 6183
    08/09: 6128

    For 11/12, we have the statements:
    “In 2011/12, the NHSLA received 9,143 claims (including potential claims) under its clinical negligence schemes ”
    We also have that 35% of claims are abandoned by the claimant. So we should be looking at a net outcome of 3,200 of these 9,143 abandoned, giving about 5943 to be actually settled – which seems rather close to the historic mean.

    As an aside, the drop off at the right of that graph should be a red flag that claims that are actually settled do not resolve in the 1-2 years timeframe – either that, or the totals of 2,814 in 10/11 and 668 in 11/12 give a very different answer to the one you present!

    An important note (the first one!) in the detailed Factsheet five states:

    The number of claims/potential claims notified in 2010/11 and the amounts paid out in 2010/11 do not relate to the same cohort of claims. Payments made in 2010/11 may relate to claims notified in earlier financial years, particularly where claims are large or complex. Similarly, claims and potential claims notified to the NHSLA by trusts in 2010/11 may not be settled in that year: indeed in cases where a patient has indicated that they may be contemplating a claim and the trust therefore notifies the NHSLA (shown as an “incident” in the columns below), a formal claim may only be made many months later. Moreover, many patients do not pursue an initial intention to make a claim and hence the “incident” never becomes a “claim”.

    To emphasise that: larger payouts occur due to larger and more complex cases which will not resolve in the same year. You cannot use these figures to support the claim of increased negligence because high costs due to increased negligence won’t have worked their way through yet – abandoned cases and simple low-cost cases will stack up at the lower time scales; the cases pushing the mean time up will be the ones in question.

  10. Dr. Clarke (are you a Medical Doctor – no, thought not) – Given how sensitive a soul you are ( I doubt there are many readers of this blog who aren’t blocked by you on Twitter) do you think if appropriate to ask Frances to ‘change her glasses’ ?- I’d say that’s ‘ableism’ or ‘sightism’ at its worst.

    What a ghastly little man you are – a partisan Socialist who would have been right at home working in a gulag or writing for Pravda….

  11. And damages are calculated for loss of future earnings by reference to IL bond yields. So as they’ve gone down, damages have gone up.

    By all means criticise govt health policies (I might well agree) but litigation costs aren’t a good yardstick of NHS performance.

  12. Let’s as a Pre-amble begin by saying that arguably the three most partisan and predictable users on Twitter, in terms of spouting the same stale, Socialist dogma are @RichardJMurphy, @OwenJones84 & @TheGreenbenches. All have a purblind outlook which is impervious to evidence, and all combine this with a very aggressive method of disagreement, liberal and meaningless use of the term ‘troll’ and a hyper- thin skin which means no dissent is tolerated in either their blogs or Twitter feeds.

    The ‘argument’ used by Clarke is utterly ridiculous- he doesn’t even bring in the time taken to settle liability claims in 09/10 or even 08/09, which must be easily obtainable. Like most pathological misinformation peddles, he blindly stumbles across the odd acorn – Indeed 29,000 employees have been lost to the NHS. The fact that the Health authorities have chosen to dismiss Radiologists rather than layers of management which are superfluous says much about the culture of bureaucratic self- preservation inculcated by the disastrous government of 1997 to 2010which he so assiduously proselytised for….

  13. Eoin Clarke
    Since your website will no longer allow me to comment, let me hope that you will read this and apply your tiny brain to read what the Factsheet says.
    Reported claims 80/81 to 96/97 (Tories) average 1717, reported claims 97/78 to 2009/10 (Labour) average 5756, reported claims 2010/11 to 2011/12 (Coalition) average 1741
    So average claims under Labour were MORE THAN THREE TIMES those under the Tories or the Coalition.

  14. So basically the story is that claims against the NHS are up under labour and down under conservative and coalition governments. And someone tried to twist the story to blame the coalition in order to match the person’s ideology. Yes?

  15. Whether or not he is a lying little tosspot is one thing, but he has been awarded a PhD from one of the UK’s leading universities so he is fully entitled to call himself Doctor, Bemused Bystanded, unless of course, you have information that would suggest the degree should not have been conferred on him.

  16. @ DocBud
    Depends on your definition of “leading”. QUB came 35th in 2011 when one site says Eoin Clarke got his PhD but claims to be 25th in the 2013 league table after their PR team hitched a short ride in the TARDIS.

  17. because he is a misleading post turtle

    I had to google that.

    But I’d disagree. Eoin is a deliberately mendacious*, spectacularly ignorant modern pamphleteer. I don’t feel any sympathy for him and rather than helping him down, I’m perfectly happy to lob rocks at him. Until he’s a Home Office spad after the next election and has SO1 minders …

    * I’ll grant his horridly misleading Excel graphs are probably down to ignorance (both of statistics and Excel) but much of his cherry-picking of source material is more active in its selection to demonstrate the propriety of his pre-conceived delusions.

  18. I disagree strongly with Éoin Clarke’s analysis, but I point out in his defence that he has published several critical comments, including mine.

  19. I point out in his defence that he has published several critical comments, including mine.

    He publishes mine, when I submit them, too. But then I try to be a little less ranty than when I post here.

  20. What I found is that he published politely critical comments, but not until a few days afterwards – by which time everyone’s moved on to more recent posts.

  21. The limitation period for personal injury claims is 3 years from the accident. There’s a very good reason why more complex cases tend not to be brought until relatively late in the period – sometimes it takes time for the prognosis to be clear enough, or indeed for the error even to have been noticed. The limitation period is 3 years from the date a child turns 18 and some of the largest claims are those for serious conditions for children (eg incorrectly diagnosed conditions at birth leading to a need for lifelong care). There could theoretically be birth abnormality cases dating back to when Thatcher was PM which could still be waiting to be brought.

    Other than relatively trivial or obvious cases of uncontested negligence with limited long-term care implications, a very small proportion of the negligent acts of healthcare professionals in the past 2 1/2 years will have led to concluded settlements or litigation.

    If Clarke wanted to make the political point-scoring comparison he’d be better looking at much older data. If he cared about such things.

    There’s probably also an interesting bit of research to be done on the impact of legal aid changes and the rise of alternative fee arrangements over recent years, but again the data won’t be available until the underlying events in the NHS are old political news. Maybe a tough piece on the failings of the coalition in time for the 2020 election?

  22. Credit where it’s due; he’s put it up.

    Apologies for any confusion with whoever posted as RichardT here; that’s also my Google name, which is compulsory at Eoin’s place.

  23. As somebody who has been following the inexplicable rise of Eoin’s blog with increasing disbelief, and occasionally commented on the more lunatic of his assertions, I have noticed that the more critical a comment is, the longer it takes to appear (although he does always publish, I think). Comments that completely demolish his argument can take a week to appear, by which time the story is buried several pages back.

    He displays an admirable dedication to combing through huge swathes of raw data. Occasionally he finds a genuinely surprising nugget. But unfortunately his critical faculties are blinded by prejudice, he cherrypicks data shamelessly and often, and he lacks the intelligence and methodology to look at a heap of numbers and extract anything useful from them. Many of his pronouncements are puerile. If there’s a percentage attached to it, the chances are it’s rubbish.l

  24. It is possible that Eoin Clarke has misinterpreted the data, but I think the same is true here. The sudden drop in claims after 08/09 is clearly not real. It is presumably because claims associated with 09/10, 10/11 and 11/12 will be made in the future. We will only know the full number of claims associated with these years in about 3 years time. To suggest that the number of claims have dropped since the Tories came to power (which strictly speaking they haven’t) is clearly not correct. To actually have some idea of whether the number of claims have dropped we would need to see the same graph (as that at the top of page 3) plotted in 08/09 (i.e., missing lots of claims for 06/07, 07/08, and 08/09). It is still quite possible that the number of claims have indeed risen since the “Tories” came to power. We just don’t really know yet.

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