Over £160 million shelled out on NHS compensation since 2018

Health Board pays out to patient whose testicle was removed without his consent

By Bill Heaney

Alarming new figures reveal that the Scotland’s NHS has shelled out more than £160million on compensating patients in the last four years – and that figure doesn’t even include the country’s largest health board, Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

Responses to Freedom of Information requests by the Scottish Conservatives show that, in total, 475 successful claims led to £163,137,578 being paid out in compensation between 2018 and 2022.

The figures also show the value of claims sky-rocketing in the space of three years, from £24,483,684 in 2018 to £54,940,898 in 2021.

Worryingly, the true compensation bill is almost certainly much higher, as Scotland’s biggest health board – NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde – failed to provide data, while the Borders and Grampian boards had not finished processing claims for 2022.

This appears to have been in line with the Secret Scotland policies of the SNP government?

NHS Lothian spent the most on compensation, shelling out almost £43 million.

Shadow health secretary Dr Sandesh Gulhane MSP has branded the figures “a damning indictment of the SNP’s dire workforce planning”, which has left dedicated NHS staff dangerously overstretched.

Dr Sandesh Gulhane MSP, left.  said: “My heart goes out to the patients and families who have suffered as a result of failings in Scotland’s NHS.

“But the buck for this stops with a succession of SNP health secretaries – including Humza Yousaf. These figures are a damning indictment of the SNP’s dire workforce planning, which has left our health service woefully under-resourced.

“Dedicated staff are dangerously overstretched and, tragically but inevitably, this is leading to more mistakes and a growing number of compensation claims.

“At a time when budgets are so tight, the NHS can ill afford to be spending vast sums on compensation. It goes without saying that this money could be far better spent on frontline patient care.

“These compensation claims make it clear that our NHS is buckling under SNP mismanagement and that Humza Yousaf’s flimsy recovery plans have failed to remobilise it.

“In contrast, the Scottish Conservatives have produced a real recovery plan to ease the pressure on doctors and nurses so that they can give patients the best possible care.”

  • Over £160 million has been spent on compensation NHS patients between 2018 and 2022. In total, 475 successful claims resulted in £163,137,578 of compensation being paid out, with compensation skyrocketing from £24,483,684 in 2018 to £54,940,898 in 2021. (Scottish Conservative FOI, 16 May 2023, Available on Request).
  • NHS Lothian spent the most on compensation, with almost £43 million being shelled out. Lothian paid out £42,965,851 in compensation, accounting for 26% of all compensation. NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Grampian were the next biggest spenders, compensating patients to the tune of £31,197,667 and £17,876,659 respectively.  (Scottish Conservative FOI, 16 May 2023, Available on Request).
  • The true compensation figure is much higher. Scotland’s biggest health board, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, which covers West Dunbartonshire and Argyll, failed to provide data, whilst the Borders and Grampian boards failed to provide data for 2022 on the basis that they had not yet finished processing claims. (Scottish Conservative FOI, 16 May 2023, Available on Request).
  • Some of the reasons given for compensation claims involved serious clinical negligence. NHS Lanarkshire provided a complete list of compensation claims and the reason for the claim. Some of the most serious included: (Scottish Conservative FOI, 9 December 2022, Available on Request).
    • Patient had cardiac arrest and died after failure to review ECG.
    • Failure to obtain consent for removal of testicle.
    • Suicide – Failure to diagnose schizophrenia
    • Eye glued shut.
    • Removal of ovary without consent.
    • Failure to detain patient under MH Act resulting in suicide
    • Failure to properly examine baby resulting in imperforate anus going unnoticed resulting in death.


  1. Sandy doesn’t even realise there is such a thing as a scottish mental heatlh act, and he works as a psychiatrist ! He believes it takes two doctors to section someone, cos he was trained in England. Where they have human rights.

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