Health boards in Scotland have paid out more than £60 million in legal claims since 2018, figures show.
Statistics released to the Scottish Conservatives under freedom of information legislation from 13 of the country’s 14 health authorities show £60,372,215.76 had been spent, as of June last year.
In total, 2,466 claims were made against boards for a variety of reasons.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde – the country’s biggest health board by population – topped the list, paying out more than £17.5 million on 698 claims during that time period.
Scottish Tory health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane said the figures are a result of under-staffing in the health service, calling on the Scottish Government to work towards a “modern, efficient and local health service”.
He added: “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 and discredited Michael Matheson.
“These figures are a damning indictment of their 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, a growing number of compensation claims and resulting legal costs.
“Although anyone who experiences sub-standard care is entitled to – and right to – seek redress, at a time when budgets are so tight, the NHS can ill-afford to be spending such vast sums on fighting legal battles instead of frontline patient care.
“Scotland’s NHS is lurching from crisis to crisis under SNP mismanagement – and Humza Yousaf’s flimsy recovery plan has failed to remobilise it.
“Ministers must match the Scottish Conservative plans for a modern, efficient and local health service.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We sympathise with any patient whose treatment has failed to reach the standards we all expect from our health system.
“Scotland has one of the most transparent healthcare systems in the world, and is also a leader in patient safety.
“As with all health systems, where legal cases arise, there will be a necessary level of costs – but we seek to limit that as far as possible and our NHS learns constantly from care experiences that go well and those where standards falls short.
“NHS Scotland staffing is at record levels and is being further bolstered by our investment, since autumn 2021, of some £18 million to recruit 1,250 nurses, midwives and allied health professionals from overseas by the end of this financial year.”
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