And it said the NHS had was facing increasing numbers of claims which had no merit – with almost 5,000 failed claims in 2015/16.On current trends, the NHS will spend £2.6bn a year on claims by 2022, says the report, which calls for wholesale reform of the legal system, including fixed recoverable costs for claims up to £250,000 to stop lawyers charging “disproportionate” legal fees.It also suggests that calulations for damages should be based on the loss of average earnings, not actual earnings. Baby Joshua Titcombe died after hospital staff failed to provide antibiotics for an infection A Department of Health spokesman said: “We agree that clinical negligence costs are too high – so we’re taking action to drive these down. We have consulted on proposals to cap exorbitant payments going to lawyers, and NHS Resolution will give hospitals incentives to learn from mistakes so that costs are reduced just as patient care improves.” NHS spending on medical blunders could fund more than 6,000 more doctors, with costs soaring by more than 70 per cent in just five years, new figures show.The Medical Protection Society (MPS) said current trends will see annual spending hit £2.6bn within five years, and could threaten the survival of the NHS.The organisation, which advises more than 300,000 medics, called for sweeping changes to the legal system, to limit the amount spent on lawyers, and cuts to damages payouts.Its experts said increasing patient expectations and disportionate legal costs were fuelling costs which were not affordable.In the five years to 2015/16, the total number of claims has risen by 27 per cent, official figures show.But the costs rose by 72 per cent over the same period, with £1.5bn paid out in 2015/16, the report shows.The figure could pay for the training of 6,500 doctors, the report says.Many of the most expensive claims involve babies left brain damaged at birth.Since 2004/5, the value of claims against NHS maternity units for brain damage and cerebral palsy has risen from £354m to £990m, official figures show.The cases – often linked with a failure to monitor babies’ heart rates, to detect risks of oxygen starvation – fuelled maternity negligence claims of more than £1.2bn in 2015/16. This means higher earners would not receive more from the NHS in compensation than lower earners for a similar claim.And it calls for a limits on future care costs, and a 10 year limit on making a claim.Emma Hallinan, director of claims at the MPS, said: “It is important that there is reasonable compensation for patients harmed following clinical negligence, but a balance must be struck against society’s ability to pay. If the current trend continues the balance will tip too far and the cost risks becoming unsustainable for the NHS and ultimately for society.”This is without doubt a difficult debate to have, but difficult decisions are made about spending in healthcare every day and we have reached a point where the amount society pays for clinical negligence must be one of them,” she said. The report found GPs are now twice as likely to be sued for clinical negligence as they were a decade ago, with the highest claim paid costing £5.5m. Jeremy Hunt has set out plans which aim to dramatically reduce the number of tragedies where babies die or are harmed for life Credit:Eddie Mulholland Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
It is the first time the effect has been found to work in adults.”Conventional research shows that right-ear advantage diminishes around age 13, but our results indicate this is related to the demand of the task,” said Dr Aurora Weaver, assistant professor at Auburn and member of the research team. The research could help scientists improve hearing aids Credit:Panther Media GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo “Cognitive skills, of course, are subject to decline with advanced aging, disease, or trauma,” added Dr Weaver.”Therefore, we need to better understand the impact of cognitive demands on listening.”The research was presented at the annual Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, which will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Listening with the right ear stimulates the left side of the brain which processes language For the new experiment, 41 participants aged between 19 and 28 were asked to wear a headset and recall a list of numbers played into either their right, or left ear piece.The researchers found that when the list of numbers was small – fewer than six digits – there was no difference in ear performance. However as the list grew, results were an average of eight per cent better when the numbers were played into to the right hand ear. The performance of some individuals improved as much as 41 per cent for the right ear.Scientists knew that children hear more easily through the right ear but it was thought that by adulthood, both ears had taken on equal load.The team are hoping the research will help improve hearing aids and deafness testing. Researcher Danielle Sacchinelli added: “The more we know about listening in demanding environments, and listening effort in general, the better diagnostic tools, auditory management, including hearing aids, and auditory training will become.”Recent research also suggested that loss of hearing is a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, because it puts a greater strain on the brain when interpreting sound.So the new study could also help scientists understand how deafness impacts neurodegenerative diseases. Many people, when struggling to hear, will naturally cock their head to the right hand side, in a bid to improve the sound.But a new study has shown that the instinctual movement has a scientific basis. The right ear is indeed better equipped for not only listening but also making sense of noise.And it is to do with how the brain interprets sound.Listening is a complex task which requires not only sensitive hearing, but also the ability to turn the information into meaning. Once you add the distraction of background noise and the constant interruptions of modern life, that ability to comprehend becomes far more tricky.However sound entering the right ear is processed by the left side of the brain, which controls speech, language development, and portions of memory.So turning the right ear towards the speaker, or noise source, will allow more information to travel to the side of the brain where it can be more easily interpreted, according to audiology researchers at Auburn University in Alabama, US.