NHS Dumfries and Galloway paid out £4 million to settle just one legal claim against them, it has emerged.
Data obtained by the Scottish Conservatives through a series of Freedom of Information requests discovered the local health board paid out a total of £4,000,599 to one individual patient in 22/23.
Similarly it shelled out a £1,140,975 settlement during the financial year between 20/21.
Commenting on the payments, Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson said: “Firstly, my thoughts are with those patients who have been badly let down.
“However, the buck stops with a series of SNP health secretaries, including Humza Yousaf and the current incumbent, the discredited Michael Matheson, who have presided over dire workforce planning in our NHS.
“That has left NHS Dumfries and Galloway woefully under-resourced.
“As we all know dedicated staff are overstretched, and tragically – but inevitably – this is leading to more mistakes being made.”
According to information supplied by the health board the number of occasions where patients have taken legal action has fallen.
A total of 24 claims were made in 2018/19, eight were received in 22/23, and four in 23 between April and May.
The highest settlement payment in 21/22 amounted to £500,104, while it has dropped to just £92,810 in 23/24, so far.
Fees paid to the health board’s legal advisers has totalled nearly £2.7 million over the last six financial years. This includes advice given for litigation cases, employment cases, contracts, property transactions and a number of other areas.
Mr Carson continued: “While anyone who has been on the receiving end of sub-standard care is perfectly justified in lodging a claim, doing so adds to the pressure on NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s budget.
“They can ill-afford costly legal battles when, ideally, every last penny ought to be spent on supporting frontline services.”