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Major task to restore faith in service - Minister
[Posted: Fri 16/02/2001 www.irishhealth.com]
A huge effort is needed to win back the trust and confidence of patients and their relatives in the health service and the medical profession, according to Health Minister, Micheal Martin.
He said that a well-educated and informed population was no longer prepared to accept that the doctor necessarily knows best.
Speaking at a major conference today on the medical litigation crisis, Mr Martin said that 'much litigation arises from a failure to take proper account of patients' views or a failure to secure proper informed consent'.
"Confidence in our health services and in the medical profession has been shaken by a number of highly publicised events in Ireland", the minister said. "Here we have had the hepatitis C problem, the treatment of haemophiliacs, the organ retention and disposal controversy and a number of other high profile failures".
He made a plea for patients to be treated as partners in the process of care and added:"This also imposes a duty on patients to begin to take responsibility for important aspects of the care process for themselves".
The minister said that one of the common threads which runs through many claims is a disregard for the views and feelings of those who use the services.
Referring to planned new changes here by the government, Mr Martin said that in the future health agencies will accept liability for the actions of their doctors and there are plans to introduce a 'no fault' or 'needs based' compensation scheme for infants who suffer cerebral damage.
He was speaking this afternoon at the conference 'The challenge of change - medical indemnity in the 21st century' organised by Hayes & Sons solicitors and held at Jury's Hotel.
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