Medical Protection has provided detailed recommendations that aim to resolve clinical disputes in a fair and timely manner to a new Expert Group set up by the Government. The Expert Group is reviewing alternative mechanisms and court processes for resolving clinical negligence claims with the plan to report its findings within six months. This is in the interests of all parties in a case.
In making its recommendations, Medical Protection has focused on each stage of the claim process – from pre-litigation all the way through to the conclusion of trial.
Medical Protection is calling for the creation of specialist courts with strict timetables, and judges who have an expertise in clinical negligence in a bid to improve reduce delays in claims being resolved.
The submission to the Expert Group also explores some of the complex arguments surrounding ‘no-fault’ compensation models.
Hilary Steele, claims lead for Republic of Ireland at Medical Protection, said:
“Medical Protection welcomes this review and the Government’s commitment to improving the current system for the management of clinical negligence claims. Our in-depth knowledge and experience of dealing with claims locally and worldwide provides us with unique insight into best practice when resolving clinical disputes.
“There are significant delays in resolving claims through the current court system, impacting both patients and clinicians. These delays mean that patients can wait many years to achieve closure. Many may suffer financial hardship while they wait for compensation. Legal and procedural reform may also save public money, which would be better spent on patient care.
“Medical Protection believes that the creation of specialist courts could lead to useful precedents for clinical negligence practitioners and bring consistency in approach, particularly regarding awards of compensation. Medical Protection has also called on the Government to finalise a compulsory pre-action protocol as this will lead to many more claims being resolved without court proceedings.
“We are also keen to highlight our expertise working in jurisdictions with no-fault compensation schemes. Various models exist to address adverse healthcare incidents and no two are the same. As Medical Protection supports healthcare professionals around the world, we are keen to work with the Government to share our knowledge and experience on both the merits and shortcomings of these schemes.”
The terms of reference of the Expert Group: https://health.gov.ie/blog/publications/expert-group-to-review-the-law-of-torts-and-the-current-systems-for-the-management-of-clinical-negligence-claims-terms-of-reference/
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About Medical Protection:
Medical Protection Society (“Medical Protection”) is the world’s leading protection organisation for doctors, dentists and healthcare professionals. We protect and support the professional interests of more than 300,000 members around the world. With more than 16,000 members in Ireland our knowledge and experience of the medicolegal environment globally puts us in a strong position to advise and inform policy makers. Membership provides access to expert advice and support together with the right to request indemnity for complaints or claims arising from professional practice.
Our philosophy is to support safe practice in medicine and dentistry by helping to avert problems in the first place. We do this by promoting risk management through our workshops, E-learning, clinical risk assessments, publications, conferences, lectures and presentations. Medical Protection is not an insurance company. All the benefits of membership of Medical Protection are discretionary as set out in the Memorandum and Articles of Association.