Urological litigation in the UK National Health Service (NHS): an analysis of 14 years of successful claims

BJU Int. 2011 Jul;108(2):162-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2011.10130.x. Epub 2011 Apr 11.


Objectives: • To present a summary of the collected data on urological litigation within the UK National Health Service (NHS). • Knowledge of the main areas of litigation is essential for maintaining good clinical practice as well as risk management procedures in any specialty.

Materials and methods: • Details of all claims closed with indemnity payment pertaining to the specialty of urology as practiced by urologists, general surgeons and paediatric surgeons was obtained from the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) for the years since its creation in 1995 to 2009. • The data was then classified and analysed.

Results: • In all, 493 cases were closed with indemnity payment with a total of £20,508,686.18 paid. The average payment per claim was £41,599.77. • Most of the claims were related to non-operative events (232), followed by postoperative events (168) and intraoperative events (92). • The most common reason for non-operative-related claims was failure to diagnose/treat cancer (69), perforation/organ injury (38) was the highest intraoperative-related claim and a forgotten ureteric stent (23) was the most frequent postoperative-related claim. • The five most commonly implicated procedures were ureteroscopy/ureteric stenting (45), transurethral resection of the prostate (30), nephrectomy (26), vasectomy (19) and urethral catheterisation (15).

Conclusions: • The present study once again emphasizes the importance of thorough clinical assessment, record keeping and follow-up as well as informed consent and good communication with patients. • Recognising the areas of highest risk and improving practice should limit future claims.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Liability, Legal / economics*
  • Malpractice / economics
  • Malpractice / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Malpractice / statistics & numerical data
  • State Medicine / economics
  • State Medicine / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Urology / economics
  • Urology / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Urology / statistics & numerical data