Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust has paid out more than £70 million of tax payers’ money for medical blunders in the past four years

The Trust, which is rated ‘requires improvement’ by the Care Quality Commission, was formed in October 2013 by the merger of Lewisham Healthcare Trust and Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Analysis from the BBC Local News Partnership has found the Trust has come 14 out of 258 in the UK for the amount it has paid out in damages and legal costs the since 2012 - even though it paid out nothing in the year 2012-13 as it was not formed yet.

A spokeswoman for the Trust said the ranking was “not an accurate reflection” of its current standards, due to a number of payouts “relating to cases dating back” to before it formed.

She said: “We have made significant improvements to the safety and quality of our services since Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust was formed in 2013.

“For example, our multi-award-winning maternity services are highly rated and gain extremely positive patient feedback; in the latest NHS friends and family test, 98 per cent of responders said they would recommend the service.”

The bill for all types of negligence claims in England has risen four-fold in 10 years to £1.6 billion in 2016-17.

An inquiry by the Public Accounts Committee in November last year warned that pressures on the NHS could see the litigation bill “spiralling out of control without effective action”.

The Department of Health (DoH) and NHS Resolution have put forward measures to the combat the situation, including a plan to cap the fees that legal firms can recoup from the tax payer when they win low value cases and trying to resolve negligence cases before they go to court.

A spokesman for the DoH said: “We’re ensuring taxpayers’ money is spent effectively by taking action against law firms creaming off excessive legal costs that dwarf the damages recovered – but we’re also clear we want to ensure patients continue to access justice at a reasonable cost.”