154,961 registered members
State's €74m health errors pay-out
[Posted: Mon 05/10/2009 by Niall Hunter, Editor www.irishhealth.com]
The State paid out €74 million in settling claims against hospitals and other health agencies between 2003 and 2008.
Dr Ailis Quinlan, head of of the Clinical Indemnity Scheme (CIS), under which the State has met the cost of negligence and other claims against health agencies and their staff since 2002, said the cost to the State of settling claims had been considerable.
She was speaking at the annual conference of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) held in Cavan.
Dr Quinlan said that since 2004, over 280,000 incidents have been notified to the CIS and over 3,500 of these have gone on to become claims. Not all of the incidents logged by the CIS are directly related to clinical care.
"At any one time we have about 1,600 active claims and on average we receive about 500 new claims each year."
Dr Quinlan said almost €74 million had been spent on settling claims between 2003 and 2008, and €60 million is expected to be paid out in 2009.
She stressed that when things go wrong in healthcare, patients wanted acknowledgement that something went wrong, they wanted an apology and most importantly, they wanted reassurance that what happened to them will not happen again to anyone else.
Dr Quinlan stressed the need for doctors to communicate properly with patients when adverse events occur.
She referred to recent research which showed that after a US hospital system changed its policy from "deny and defend" to more open communication and using court only as a last resort, its number of new negligence claims dropped dramatically.
Medico-legal expert Mr Asim Sheikh told the conference that doctors could use a hospital's failure to provide sufficient resources as a defence where adverse incidents have occurred.
He said medico-legally, doctors could make the argument that failure to provide specific resources affected their ability to care for a patient.
However, if a doctor sincerely believed that this was the case, they would have to make this argument with coherence and with concrete evidence to suggest that there was a specific resource issue which prevented them from fulfilling their duty of care to the patient.
Mr Sheikh said otherwise, the courts were likely to be relatively hesitant to accept the resources argument.
|tobo1ie Posted: 09/10/2009 22:11|
Mr Sheikh's comments are not really relevant as the HSE takes responsibility for the actions of the doctors involved in the care or treatment of a patient.
Dr Quinlan should be asked why it is that the CIS continue to defend or delay in respect of reasonable claims that injured patients are bringing against the HSE? This must add considerable costs to the defending of claims, apart from the considerable `personal emotional cost to the victim and their families.
Do the CIS advise the solicitors they instruct to admit early and process quickly claims against the HSE where victims have already received an informal admission of liability? I am aware of examples where the opposite happened and the litigation process continued in a manner that exerted maximum pressure on the injured victim.
|Anonymous Posted: 12/10/2009 13:11|
When you consider the type of course that junior doctos works and the sort of exhaustion that has to result, it only surprises me that moe errors don't occur. If it is illegal for me to work in an office for more than 48 hours a week, when my mistakes won't affect anyone's life or health in a material way, why is it ok for doctors who have patients' health and sometimes lives in their hands, to work 80 hours a week.
|bj Posted: 16/10/2009 21:11|
I strongly object to Dr. Quinlan's statement regarding "defend and deny". Not everyone who makes a complaint to the HSE are looking for a "handout". My Dad was not cared for properly in an Irish Nursing Home. Wrong medications were given to him, he had to call the "care doctor" himself and there were a number of other incidents over the two week period that my Dad was in the care of this Nursing Home. As a family we made a formal complaint to the HSE, but we were not looking for anything other than to bring it to the attention of the HSE that the nursing home was not being monitored.
I also agree with the previous post, how can junior doctors do an effective job without error given that they are working outside of the "Organisation of Working Time Act". But this is typical of our State Bodies, one rule for people who run businesses and a different rule for State Bodies. It's disgraceful that they are allowed to do this. If they obeyed the laws introduced for everyone else in the country regarding employment they would be in Court for breaches every week of the year.
|To join the discussion, register by clicking here|