Review| Volume 50, ISSUE 5, P385-388, July 2012

Litigation in National Health Service oral and maxillofacial surgery: review of the last 15 years


      Litigation claims are increasing in medicine but we know of little detailed analysis of those published concerning oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMFS) despite information being freely available from the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) under the Freedom of Information Act. We obtained information from the NHSLA on clinical and non-clinical negligence claims in OMFS from April 1995 to August 2010, and analysed the data with outcomes and a further breakdown of subspecialty. During the period 318 claims relating to OMFS were registered. As expected, because of the high volume of patients treated, the highest number of claims related to dentoalveolar surgery and minor oral surgery. The total amount paid out was in excess of £5 million, and the highest claim (more than £300 000) during the period was for misdiagnosis of an oral cancer. Litigation in OMFS is increasing, as is the number of cases that necessitate compensation by the NHSLA. We discuss the trends and implications.


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