Public spending watchdog the National Audit Office (NAO) is calling for a radical overhaul of the system for dealing with NHS medical negligence claims, which have doubled to £3.9bn in the past three years.

The NAO said there were currently more than 23,000 outstanding medical negligence claims, each of which will take an average of five years to complete.

The NAO report recommends the introduction of a new arbitration panel to curb the cost of claims, 25% of which stems from legal costs.