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Avoiding Problems - Managing the Risks in General Practice in Ireland

Correct as of: January 2013. The right of Sandy Anthony to be identified as the author of the text of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.


At the turn of the last century, the Italian economist Pareto observed that 90% of the wealth of his country was owned by 10% of the population.

“Pareto analysis” applied to industrial environments has shown that 80% of errors arise from only about 20% of causes.

This concept can also be applied to medical mishaps – most incidents leading to medicolegal problems fall into one of the following categories:

  • Failure to appreciate legal and professional responsibilities
  • Problems in clinical management
  • Medication errors
  • Administrative errors
  • Failure of communication, including inadequate medical records.
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