Thursday, June 18, 2015

Overhaul required in addressing medical negligence cases

Fine Gael TD for Meath East and member of the Oireachtas Committee for Health and Children, Regina Doherty has, today (Wednesday), said that significant overhaul and reform is required if we are to deal with cases of medical negligence appropriately.

Doherty, who has never held back on her views for the need of a Duty of Candour to be introduced in Ireland, has today said “the report [Report on the Cost of Medical Indemnity Insurance] which I launched this morning with my Committee colleagues brings us one step closer to addressing cases of medical negligence appropriately.

Deputy Regina Doherty in Leinster House at the launch of The Report on the Cost of Medical Indemnity with her committee colleagues today, 17th June 2015

“I have previously called for a Duty of Candour to be introduced in our health system; we have seen all too often, both in Meath and nationally, the unprecedented pain and sometimes trauma that legal cases can bring to patients and families affected by medical negligence.

“Today’s report recommends that parties involved in, or affected by, medical negligence should consider mediation, or any other suitable dispute mechanisms, before engaging in legal action.

“Open disclosure is fundamental outcome of this report, and I believe it to be a critical feature of the reform required in how we deal with medical negligence cases. This recommendation is underpinned by a further proposal that new legislation be introduced to reflect and assist in the embedding of a culture of open disclosure in our health system.”

Concluding, Deputy Doherty said that “what is needed here is a radical change in protocol and culture in our health system to avoid the strain of cases, be it in the High Court or subsequent appeals by the State Claims Agency.

“We currently have some 2,840 claims pending; putting aside for a moment the personal stress for patients, there is a sizable and rising cost of medical indemnity insurance. Should the recommendations made in this report be put into practice, we should see a substantial reduction in costs to the state."


Notes to the editor:
The Report on the Cost of Medical Indemnity Insurance launched today by the Committee for Health and Children recommends that:

    · The HSE introduce a standardised complaints resolution service, in line with the Ombudsman’s recommendations; · The medical indemnity lower cap to be reduced to €250,000 and for the higher cap to be reduced to €500,000, to help ease the pressure on private consultants, and · Consultants with low numbers of claims be rewarded with lower premia

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