Thousands paid to hospital staff in compensation

Watford General Hospital.
Watford General Hospital.

A total of £229,004 has been shelled out to hospital staff in compensation since January 2008.

In the biggest payout by the West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust a total of £44,875 was awarded to a worker who slipped on ice that had ‘frozen in and around the rim of a large dip in the Tarmac’ and suffered serious injuries.

Other big payments include £24,000 to a worker whose foot was run over by a hospital bed whilst moving a patient, £22,811 to someone who suffered injury while having to use a swipe pad to gain access to a ward – the work station was ‘ergonomically unsafe’ – and £19,937 to a worker who slipped and fell on some ‘old brown pine needles’ while walking through the staff car park.

The figures have been revealed by the trust – which runs Hemel Hempstead’s Urgent Care Centre, Watford General Hospital and St Albans Hospital – under a Freedom of Information request.

Of the 40 cases, five claimants received no compensation and 12 have not yet been settled. Among these is a claim involving a worker who was exposed to asbestos and has now been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a type of terminal cancer.

Other unsettled cases include a worker hurt during role play as a patient that involved using a hoist, someone who was required to lift a bin with no handle and suffered a back injury and a worker who was attacked on a ward by a confused patient wielding a walking stick.

The smallest amount to have been awarded is £430 to someone who slipped on ice in a hospital car park, suffering a fractured wrist.

A separate response to another recent Freedom of Information request reveals that during 2011/12 a total of 61 nurses were injured while working on wards, 89 were hurt during 2012/13 and 31 suffered injury in the period up until August 8, 2013. The cause of these injuries range from being attacked to falling over.

Trust director of workforce Mark Vaughan said: “We do all we can to help avoid staff from suffering injuries as a result of accidents at work, including slips, trips and falls.

“Accidents will, of course, happen. However, each reported incident is investigated so that we can learn appropriate lessons to help prevent them from happening again.

“Our staff also receive training to help avoid accidents at work and they are actively encouraged to report or rectify hazards which might cause injury to others.

“In addition, we ensure that staff who have been injured at work receive appropriate support, including from our occupational health team.”