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The Clinical Indemnity Scheme: Why it’s not enough

1 Jul 2014

Complaints to the Medical Council, Garda inquiries and disciplinary hearings... all are daunting prospects for every doctor and the limitations of the Clinical Indemnity Scheme (CIS) mean you will potentially face them alone.

Furthermore, if you work in general practice or a private hospital, the CIS will not cover you for the financial consequences of a claim for clinical negligence.

This is where Medical Protection comes in.

The need for Medical Protection membership

Although the cost of clinical negligence claims accounts for the majority of our expenditure, the majority of the cases involve assisting members with other medicolegal and ethical enquiries, such as a complaint to the IMC or a disciplinary procedure, which can have serious consequences for a doctor’s reputation and career.

  • In 2020 there were 24,720 doctors on the Medical Register – up from 23,555 in 2019, an increase of over 1,160 doctors
  • 60% of registered doctors received their primary medical qualification in Ireland, 15% were from an EU/EEA country; and 25% from another country
  • 279 complaints were received, compared to 431 in 2019
  • 420 doctors were restored to the Medical Register to help during the COVID-19 pandemic through the Be On Call for Ireland

The financial cost of preparation and representation for an average three-day Fitness to Practise inquiry would leave little change from €50,000.

The CIS is there to ensure patients who experience harm as a result of substandard care are compensated. Its primary purpose is not to protect you, or your professional interests – this is where Medical Protection can help.

What does Medical Protection membership provide?

  • Telephone advisory service available 24/7 – Members can phone us for confidential, specialist medicolegal advice to help resolve everyday dilemmas, as well as more complex scenarios arising from professional practice.
  • Specialist legal advice and representation – For a range of circumstances which are not supported by the CIS, such as disciplinary hearings and IMC Fitness to Practise proceedings.
  • Handling complaints – If you become the subject of a complaint, we can help you formulate a response and support you through to its resolution.
  • Writing reports – We can help with preparing a report for the coroner and offer advice and representation at an inquest.
  • Media and press relations – Medical Protection can issue statements and act as a spokesperson should a case or complaint against you receive unwanted media attention.
  • Criminal proceedings – We can help members who are the subject of a Garda investigation that arose directly from their provision of clinical care to patients.
  • Indemnity – Medical Protection can provide you with full protection against a claim. When we take care of a member's case, we can take care of all the legal costs and compensation payments. Indemnity cover for Good Samaritan Acts worldwide.

Information and risk management

We are committed to helping you avoid problems and provide the best care for your patients. Using our wealth of knowledge and experience we have developed a range of risk management resources to help reduce your exposure to complaints and claims. For publications, conferences, lectures, workshops, E–learning and clinical risk self-assessments (CRSAs)

If you are relying on the CIS alone... don’t

The table below shows the limitations of the CIS compared to the benefits of membership offered by Medical Protection. For more information on the benefits of membership you can also visit, or contact us.

Medical Protection member benefit

Clinical indemnity scheme

Indemnity For unindemnified work, including Good Samaritan Acts and voluntary work For public hospital work and good Samaritan acts only
24/7 confidential, emergency medicolegal advice line Yes No
IMC proceedings arising from professional matters Yes No
Support and representation for hospital disciplinary hearings arising from clinical practice Yes No
Help to prepare responses to complaints from patients Yes No
Criminal matters arising from clinical practice, eg, manslaughter Yes No
Support with report writing and representation in a Coroner’s Court Yes Yes
Support with media relations, by preparing statements and acting as a spokesperson Yes No

We put members first

The CIS is focused on ensuring that patients who are harmed have access to appropriate compensation. Our whole ethos is focused on putting your needs first and doing our best to help you in your professional practice in whatever way we can.

We remain independent and mutual, which means we can continue to focus on what’s best for members and nothing else.