Author(s): J Ring, C L Talbot, T M Clough
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We present a review of litigation claims relating to foot and ankle surgery in the NHS in England during the 17-year period between 1995 and 2012.
A freedom of information request was made to obtain data from the NHS litigation authority (NHSLA) relating to orthopaedic claims, and the foot and ankle claims were reviewed.
During this period of time, a total of 10 273 orthopaedic claims were made, of which 1294 (12.6%) were related to the foot and ankle. 1036 were closed, which comprised of 1104 specific complaints. Analysis was performed using the complaints as the denominator. The cost of settling these claims was more than £36 million.
There were 372 complaints (33.7%) involving the ankle, of which 273 (73.4%) were related to trauma. Conditions affecting the first ray accounted for 236 (21.4%), of which 232 (98.3%) concerned elective practice. Overall, claims due to diagnostic errors accounted for 210 (19.0%) complaints, 208 (18.8%) from alleged incompetent surgery and 149 (13.5%) from alleged mismanagement.
Our findings show that the incorrect, delayed or missed diagnosis of conditions affecting the foot and ankle is a key area for improvement, especially in trauma practice.
This article was published in The Journal of Bone and Joint
and referenced in Clinical Research on Foot & Ankle